Palfinger, the Austrian loader crane manufacturer, has reported a 6% increase in sales for the first nine months of the year and a 4% growth in pre-tax profits.

Sales for the nine months January to September 2003 were Euro 246.8m, compared with Euro 232.7m for the corresponding period in 2002.

Earnings before interest and taxation were Euro 21.3m, up from Euro 20.5m.

The company said that implementation of the RAP project (factory reorganisation) had resulted in improved order intake and plant utilisation. And it said that the Epsilon timber crane product line was performing strongly . Revenue and earnings have continued to develop above average.

On the downside, productivity at the Guima hookloader subsidiary was still beneath expectations and crane sales in Germany and in North America were down.

A new demonstration and training centre is opening in Bergheim in early 2004.