While revnues hit rock bottom in the final quarter, EBIT earnings edged into positive territory for the first time in the year.

The company says the cranes segment was hit particularly hard, while the hydraulic segment saw a pronounced drop in revenue only in the second half. Revenues across the group declined continuously, but earnings improved gradually, with positive earnings before interest and tax recorded in the fourth quarter.

The group says inorganic growth protected revenues. Revenues for the year were EUR505m, a 36% drop on 2008’s figure of EUR794.8m. Without new acquistions, revenues would have been down by around 45%.

Another factor in protecting earnings was cost cutting. The preliminary report does not detail these measures or the savings achieved. However, CEO Herbert Ortner said: “We did not manage to prevent the slump in revenue but successfully curbed its effects by taking targeted action. We are in a position to continue to act with a focus on future developments and advance our long-term strategy, and we will keep on doing so. Even in the year 2009 we stepped up the continuous regional and product-oriented establishment and expansion of our markets.”

EBIT started the year at EUR-3.2m. It increased through the year, becoming ‘slightly positive’ in the fourth quarter. At the same time, however, revenues ‘hit rock bottom’ at the end of the year.