A “substantial increase” in crane sales for the year to 31 March 2005 helped boost Kobe Steel's construction machinery sales by 12.3% to Yen 226.8 billion (US$ 2.17 million).

Kobe Steel does not provide a detailed breakdown of crane sales in its annual results–the Kobelco Crane and Kobelco Construction Machinery subsidiaries report their own figures in late May–but the reference to substantial growth suggests that the improvement in the crane business reported in the first half of fiscal 2004 has been sustained.

The first six months of the year saw Kobelco crane sales increase 57%, increasing “considerably” in Europe and “rising sharply” in North America, where sales were helped by the OEM supply agreement with Manitowoc. Total crane sales in 2003 were Yen 24.8 billion ($ 237.1 million) and the full year forecast given last November was for sales of Yen 33.5 billion ($ 320.3 million).

Kobe Steel reported overall revenues of Yen 1400 billion ($ 13.4 billion), a rise of 18.4%.

Kobe's largest business segment, iron and steel, saw sales rise by 18% to Yen 631 billion ($ 6 billion), with the shortage of steel coupled with high demand from China and the US allowing the company to increase prices worldwide.

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