Extract from the Stock Exchange Release published on 25 April 2018:
The first quarter result shows a good start to the year 2018. The Group’s organic sales growth accelerated to 10.4% driven by both business divisions. Comparable EBITA improved by 17.3% to EUR 23.1 million. Profitability improved within all the Group’s segments. During Q1, we successfully completed the acquisition of the German construction site logistics company KBS Infra. At the same time, the strategic assessment of the Modular space business is proceeding as we are analysing a possible separation of the divisions into two legal entities.
The demand for equipment rental stayed on a good level in all segment countries. Particularly ER Scandinavia delivered strong first quarter results in a market environment where the growth seems to be slowing down. In Sweden, sales increased by 9.9% in local currency compared to the previous year, supported by large, ongoing projects. The performance of ER Central Europe was supported by the acquired KBS Infra, which was consolidated in the figures for the first time from the 1st of March onwards.
Year 2017 was challenging for our Modular Space division. We focused on improving project management and profitability especially in Finland and Germany, to increase the efficiency and utilise the growth potential of the whole segment. I am pleased to see that the reorganisational changes among other implemented actions paid off. The Modular Space division showed a robust 14.2% organic rental sales growth and EBITA improved by 35.2%. Finland contributed particularly positively to EBITA growth, while the performance of Germany was not yet on a satisfying level.
The growth in the Swedish construction market, especially in the residential sector and Stockholm metropolitan area, is flattening out from a high level, but we still see active markets in other regions in Sweden. We continue to benefit from large projects outside the residential sector. We are constantly following our investment levels in order to adapt to changes in demand.