PALFINGER, the Austrian loader crane manufacturer, has confirmed reports that it plans to begin leasing cranes as well as selling them.

The move is a result of growing demand in Europe, especially in Spain, where companies prefer to hire their equipment rather than support their own fleet.

Palfinger is now looking for partners around Europe for crane leasing and is in talks with banks. Chief executive Klaus Schuetzdeller said a pilot project would be launched in Spain where Palfinger’s 2000-01 sales surpassed those in Germany by 2,000 cranes.

Palfinger has also reported its annual results for 2001, with revenue up 5.4% to E332.1m and profits before tax down 14.9% to E38.1m. EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortisation) was down 4.5% to E52.1m.