For the full year 2009, Konecranes reported sales of EUR1.7bn compared to EUR2.1bn for 2008 and net profit of EUR62.5m, down 62.5% from EUR166.6m. Orders received fell from EUR2.1bn to EUR1.3bn.

In its standard lifting business area, sales totalled EUR652.2m, down from EUR835.4m; the order book value was EUR192.1m, down from EUR327.9m; and orders received reached EUR517m, down from EUR859m.

In heavy lifting, sales in 2009 were EUR479.1m, down from EUR659.4m; the order book value was EUR353.8m, down from EUR420.2m; and orders received totalled EUR425.1m, down from EU686m the year before.

Service sales fell from EUR754.3m to EUR667.2m; the order book value was down from EUR117.3m to EUR75.9m; and orders received totalled EUR498.4m, compared to EUR658.2m in 2008.

Konecranes’ overall fourth quarter results followed this trend, with sales down 34.1%, from EUR650.4m to EUR428.9m; the order book at the end of the period down 27.4% year-on-year, from EUR836.3m to EUR607m; and orders received in the quarter down 11.8%, from EUR409.6m to EUR361.1m. Sales, order book value and orders received were all down in its standard lifting, heavy lifting and service segments during the fourth quarter as well.

Konecranes said 2010 began with a thinner order book than 2009, and as a result sales and operating profit before restructuring costs are expected to be lower than in 2009.

“2009 proved out to be at least as challenging as expected,” said Pekka Lundmark, Konecranes president and CEO.

“Capacity utilisation at our key customer segments remained weak throughout the year, and most customers continued to be cautious in their investment decisions.

“The demand for services was also affected, since the equipment we maintain was in many cases used much less than before. Our order intake dropped 34.7% from the record level seen in 2008. Since we started the year with a strong order book, sales dropped less than orders, 20.5%, to EUR1,671.3m.

“In this situation, it was necessary to reduce our capacity, while continuing our investments for the future. A lot of the complexity that our recent acquisitions had created in our organisation was removed, resulting in a more streamlined structure for future growth. As a part of this process, we announced the shutdown of three factories and a reduction of more than 1,600 jobs. We also made progress in developing our procurement structure, improving our purchase price position in relation to market prices for certain components, raw materials, and services. These measures helped us maintain our financial result on a reasonable level in spite of lower volumes and some price pressure caused by overcapacity in the industry. We delivered a 7.1% operating margin before restructuring costs and a 19.3% return on capital employed, which was a successful defence in difficult market conditions.

Lundmark added: “Looking to the future, there are some positive signs that give cause for cautious optimism. Industrial capacity utilisation rates started to recover during the second half of 2009 and we have seen several customers start planning capital expenditure projects again. These early signs suggest that the demand for lifting equipment and services could begin growing again during 2010.

”However, due to the relatively late cyclical nature of most of our business segments, it is still too early to conclude that a major recovery could be imminent.

“We will be in a strong position once the market recovers. As I mentioned earlier, we have continued to invest throughout the recession. While reducing manufacturing capacity, we have invested in our remaining factories. We have also increased our investment in training. Product development has proceeded at full speed, and we have added new products and services to our offering. We made a total of ten acquisitions during 2009. Even after all these investments, we ended the year with a debt-free balance sheet, with a net cash position of EUR77.7m. This puts us in a good position when the consolidation of our fragmented industry continues,” Lundmark said.