Cargotec said that Hiab’s fall in orders to €216m was mainly due to a weaker market situation in some European countries compared with the previous year. Those orders secured by the company were individually small, but this was typical of the business. The order book had grown 11% from 2012 year-end.

According to the business a drop in the first quarter operating profit to €2m from €7.5m was a result of low sales, as well as overcapacity and the costs associated with the prolonged employee and management co-operation negotiations over changes at the company’s Hudiksvall, Sweden, plant. Restructuring costs amounted to €1.6m, which reduced the operating profit significantly, and included the company moving several departments from Sweden to Poland.

The company also received €1.4m funding from the European Union for a three-year research cooperation project with three academic partners in Poland and Sweden.

Mika Vehviläinen, Cargotec’s president and chief executive, said: "Orders for Hiab fell somewhat compared to the rather high figure recorded for the comparison period in the previous year. Much work remains to be done before we can achieve a satisfactory profit level. In general, we cannot rest content with our profit level for the first quarter; we continue determined measures aimed at improving our profitability."

Hiab’s sales in the first quarter decreased 5% from the comparison period and totalled €192m. Of these, sales for services totalled €54m, or 28% of sales.