Evidence of the difficulties facing all German crane and hoist manufacturers is provided by the weak financial performance of R Stahl AG in 2002.

Stahl has reported that in made a pre-tax loss of EUR 1.9m last year and an operating loss of EUR 500,000. In 2001 it made an operating profit of EUR 1.3m).

Sales fell 2.8% to EUR 233.5 m from EUR 240.0m a year earlier.

The company said that it expects to return to profit this year, even allowing for trading conditions remaining difficult. It is targeting a 5% gross return on sales.