EQUIPMENT manufacturers are still riding high on sustained worldwide demand for machines, according to firstquarter results.
Those manufacturers with exposure to the mining market got the highest returns, but demand in construction was not far behind.
The biggest player, Caterpillar, has announced record first-quarter turnover of £5.08 billion, up 13 per cent on the same period last year. Operating profit rose 45 per cent to £454 million.
Chairman Jim Owens said: 'We are realising the cumulative benefit of price increases implemented over the past 18 months.'
In turn, Terex has announced first-quarter pre-tax profits for 2006 up a huge 166 per cent to £44 million. Turnover was up 21 per cent to £948 million as a result of strong performance in its platforms and materials processing and mining divisions. The largest construction division had disappointing results in the first quarter, with turnover remaining flat at £181 million, largely due to falls in demand for scrap handlers and lack of availability of some products.
The construction and mining business of Swedish diverse manufacturer Atlas Copco has posted first-quarter operating profits double the same period last year, with £52 million on turnover of £337 million, itself up 42 per cent.
Mining kit had the highest demand, but the firm reported strong sales of its construction equipment, ranging from its surface drills and tunnelling rigs right down to its hand-held equipment.
CNH, the parent of Case and New Holland, recorded firstquarter turnover up 14 per cent across the two construction brands to £540 million. It did not record operating profit for the operations. The firm said it expected demand to be up 5 to 10 per cent worldwide in 2006, driven largely by North America.
Volvo Construction Equip-ment recorded turnover of £690 million in the first quarter, a 30 per cent rise on the same period last year, while operating profit rose 49 per cent to £61 million.