Continued growth from Atlas Copco, but caution

6 March 2012

Atlas Copco has reported continued growth in orders and revenues during Q4 with record sales and operating profit in provisional figures for the full year of 2011.

Group president and CEO Ronnie Leten said, “We have had a solid year that was nothing less than fantastic for Atlas Copco. Demand for our products and services was better than expected during the quarter.” Revenues increased organically by 16 per cent to SEK 22.3bn (USD 3.38bn) in the fourth quarter and the operating profit was SEK 4.6bn (USD 0.7bn) corresponding to a slightly lower margin of 21.6 per cent. For the full year, the margin increased on 2010 from 19.9 per cent to 21.6 per cent. A cautious note sounded is that demand is expected to weaken from the current high level. “We have a good starting point but a challenging task ahead,” said Leten, “the global outlook is difficult to predict and we will continue seeking long- and short-term growth opportunities.” Features of 2011 activity reported include development of manufacturing capacity in Asia, acquisitions and investment in competence in all markets. Demand for rock excavation equipment, chiefly due to mining, remained high and increased in most areas, although they decreased in Africa and the Middle East from the high levels of 2010. There were records sales in South America and Australia, with a stabilisation and slight increase in Europe. There were also increases in all major mining and construction markets in Asia. This is Atlas Copco’s largest regional market for rock excavation at 27 per cent, followed by North America at 23 per cent and Europe at 21 per cent. During 2011 the Group acquired 11.3 per cent of minority shares in Atlas Copco India and delisted the company from Indian exchanges. In November Atlas Copco agreed with Infosys to handle parts of its administration including processing of supplier invoices and accounting to reporting. As a result 230 positions at Atlas Copco will be affected and employment for 70 created in the Czech Republic.