JAPAN: Crawler crane manufacturer Hitachi Sumitomo reported an 18% rise in net sales for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2006. Sales rose to YEN 24,509 million ($208 million) in the period, compared to YEN 20,753 million ($176 million) in fiscal 2005. Net income rocketed 362% from YEN 285 million ($26 million) to YEN 1,317 million ($120 million) during the year.

The company said that it had seen growth in the Japanese market and in North America through Link-Belt, which is owned by Sumitomo. The company said that Link-Belt is the market leader in North America with 40% of the crawler crane market.

In China, a strong order book means that the company will manufacture crawler cranes locally at Hitachi Construction Company China's factory at Hefei.

Away from crawlers, a booming Japanese port handling sector has meant increased sales and Hitachi Sumitomo is developing a new lattice boom truck crane, in cooperation with Link-Belt, to serve the market. The Middle East, which is serviced by Hitachi Construction Machinery (Europe) N.V, was noted as another one of the strongest markets for crawlers.

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