Japan: Japanese manufacturer Kobelco Cranes has reported fiscal results for its first 12 months of trading. Net sales for April 2004 to April 2005 were YEN 34.8 million ($314,000), operating income was YEN 876 million ($7.8 million) and net income YEN 420 million ($3.8 million).

In Pascal 2004 Kobelco claims sales of 370 crawler cranes, up 32% from the 280 units sold in fiscal 2003. North America, Europe and China in particular showed a strong upswing in sales volume, contributing largely to profits, the company said. The number of crawler cranes exported rose to 70% of the total sales, up from 50% in fiscal 2003.

Of the YEN 34.8 billion ($313 million) consolidated net sales, domestic sales were YEN 16.9 billion and overseas sales YEN 17.9 billion ($156 million). Despite higher material costs, the company reported a profit in its first full year of operation.

In North America, the strategic alliance with Manitowoc led to a sharp increase in the number of units sold, Kobelco said, while in Europe sales of new cranes increased considerably owing to strong marketing to major equipment rental companies and expanding market share in central and southern Europe and Russia.

Increased sales were also reported in China, the Middle East and Japan, where Grove wheeled mobile cranes are being sold by Kobelco as part of the alliance with Grove parent company Manitowoc.

More than 200 new crawler cranes were sold in Japan, a 12% increase on fiscal 2003. Also in Japan, a 20% increase in the rough terrain market saw the number of new RTs (from all manufacturers) rise to 1,200 units, and Kobelco claimed a higher market percentage after the launch of two new RT cranes.

As has been the case with several other manufacturers, Kobelco Cranes was forced to raise crane prices as a result of higher material costs.

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