The firm stated that demand for load handling equipment was flat, whilst demand was highest for truck-mounted forklifts and tail lifts was the most profitable sector. The manufacturer also reported that demand for services was healthy coming in at around €218m. Sales for Hiab grew 8% year on year to €208m with profitability excluding restructuring costs at around 6.4%. The manufacturer said that there was an improvement in gross margin and service business profitability as well as sales and service network rationalization had begun to be reflected in profitability.

Hiab’s received orders in the first quarter of €218m, which was at the comparable level to previous years. Orders were small individual ones, which is the company said was typical of the business. The order book grew 4% from 2013 year-end when the total was €211m.

Hiab said that measures announced in October 2013, targeting efficiency improvement and cost reduction in Hiab were in the final stage at the end of the reporting period. The measures have resulted in a reduction of 220 employees. €9m restructuring costs, of which €1m had come in the first quarter 2014. Total costs are expected to be lower than the earlier expected €12m.

Capital expenditure in the first quarter, excluding acquisitions and customer financing, totaled €8.8m. Whilst investments in customer financing were €14.4m, depreciation, amortisation and impairment amounted to €20.5m.

In other related news, the company has set in motion the plan for Hiab to sell its paint shop operation in Hudiksvall, Sweden, to IBE Spectrum AB.

The current number of employees at the paint shop is approximately 15 people, who have been offered continued employment with IBE Spectrum AB. IBE Spectrum will continue operations at the existing Hiab facilities in Hudiksvall. The parties have agreed not to disclose financial details of the transaction.