MILAN (AP) — Fiat Industrial, the Italian maker of trucks, farm and construction vehicles, reported Wednesday that first-quarter profits rose more than 80 percent thanks to improved sales of tractors and construction equipment.
Fiat Industrial SpA, which was spun off from the automaker Fiat last year, said net profit in the quarter ending March 31 was €207 million ($273 million), up from €114 million the same period a year earlier.
Fiat Industrial shares closed up 6.95 percent to €8.305.
The company based in the northern Italian city of Turin reported a 9 percent increase in revenue to €5.8 billion ($7.66 billion) from €5.3 billion.
Sales of farm equipment rose by 23 percent while construction equipment sales were up 48 percent, more than doubling in North America alone. Truck sales were down due weak European economies, which also hurt FPT Industrial powertrain results.
Net profit less minority interests for the quarter was €182 million, up 70 percent from €107 million. And trading profit — or earnings before interest, taxes and one-time items — rose to €435 million from €277 million.
Fiat Industrial said net industrial debt rose to €1.9 billion from €1.2 billion at the end of 2011 due to expenditures to build up farm equipment inventory for second-quarter sales and investment in new products, especially at the CNH farm and construction business.
"It's been a great quarter," Fiat Industrial chairman Sergio Marchionne told analysts. He said Fiat Industrial would consider raising its 2012 targets after the second quarter if CNH performance warrants.
The group confirmed its targets for 2012 of €25 billion in revenues and a trading profit of €1.9 billion to 2.1 billion. Debt is expected to drop to between €1 billion and €1.2 billion.