Scania First Quarter Profit Down image

Swedish truckmaker Scania AB (SCV-A.SK) Tuesday posted a smaller than expected fall in first-quarter earnings amid soft demand for heavy industry vehicles.

Net income fell 29 percent to 1.79 billion kronor ($266 million) from 2.51 billion kronor a year earlier while Net sales in the first quarter decreased by 3% to SEK20.1 billion, down from SEK20.7 billion last year. Bookings for buses fell 25 per cent to 1,574 units during the quarter.

Lower vehicle deliveries and lower capacity utilization pulled down earnings, as did higher costs for future-related projects, the company noted.

Scania is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of trucks and buses for heavy transport applications, and of industrial and marine engines. Employing some 37,500 people, the company operates in about 100 countries.

In February, demand for new commercial vehicles was down in all major markets, leading to an overall 11.3% decline in the EU*.

Truck registrations fell by 8.2% in the EU, to a total of 20,312 units, with France up 4.5%, the UK up 24.5%, Germany down 15.6%, Spain down 17.3% and Italy down 27.6%. In total, the EU registered 44,811 new trucks from January to February, or 1.8% less than in the same period in 2011.

Shares in Scania rose on the news and were up 5.0 percent by 0738 GMT. ($1 US = 6.7763 Swedish crowns).