STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Swedish truck maker Scania AB on Wednesday posted a 45 percent plunge in fourth-quarter profits due to falling sales and prices but said demand for trucks had stabilized after a steep drop.
Net profit was 822 million kronor ($113 million), down from 1.5 billion kronor in the same three months a year earlier. Sales decreased to 18.4 billion kronor, from 22.7 billion kronor in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The results were better expected and Scania shares surged nearly 9 percent to 1.01 kronor (14 cents) in Stockholm.
ABG Sundal Collier analyst Christer Fredriksson said he was particularly impressed by how Scania -- which last year cut its work force by 2,500 to about 32,000 workers -- had managed to trim costs.
Deliveries improved compared to previous quarters but Scania said they were still at low levels, and that lower prices, particularly in Europe, hurt its earnings.
CEO Leif Ostling said demand for trucks "has flattened out at a low level" and that Scania will adjust its capacity, costs and capital spending going forward.
Order bookings for trucks jumped almost 22 percent in the quarter, but fell 15 percent for buses and coaches.
German automaker Volkswagen AG is the biggest owner in Scania, holding 49.29 percent of the capital and 71.81 percent of the votes in the company.