Orders received by the Special Cranes division of KCI Konecranes more than doubled in the first nine months of 2000 to Eur 239m, compared with Eur 106m in the first nine months of 1999.

President and chief executive officer Stig Gustavson said that the success of two new product lines û rubber tyred gantry cranes and Munckloader shipboard cranes û was the prime reason for the growth. With the other divisions, Maintenance Services and Standard Lifting Equipment, also taking more orders than last year, total orders received in the first nine months was up 45% to Eur 594.5m.

Success in the Special Cranes division appears to have continued into the last quarter of the year, with the company announcing at the end of October that it had won a contract worth up to Eur 18m to supply cranes to a steel plant in Tornio, Finland belonging to Outokumpu Polarit Oy. The cranes, scheduled for delivery between April 2001 and the end of 2002, are part of a large investment programme at the plant to double production capacity to 1.2m tonnes of steel per year. Konecranes will supply 19 overhead cranes, of which nine are heavy-duty process cranes. The units will be used in stainless steel production at the melting shop and in the hot rolling mill. The largest cranes have a lifting capacity of 350t.