Linde: World Market Recovering?

WIESBADEN, Germany -- The world market for forklifts is showing signs of recovery, according to Linde AG.

Linde's first quarter 2003 report said orders in the European, USA and Asian core markets exceeded 2002 first quarter results, despite overall group orders decreasing.

But the recovery, in Europe at least, was "driven only by warehouse trucks", the report said. Demand for counterbalance forklifts continued to fall, especially in Germany, "our most important market".

Overall, orders received decreased 1.6 percent from EUR756 million (USD872.5 million) to EUR744 million (USD858.7 million). Sales decreased 3.2 percent from EUR685 million (USD790.6 million) to EUR663 million (USD765.2 million).

The worldwide rollout of Linde's 39x forklift was almost complete, the report said, and the expansion of drive types to include LPG and new load classes would have a "positive impact".

"The global economy still does not exhibit a trend towards recovery. At least the official ending of combat operations in Iraq has removed an important source of uncertainty, and energy prices have decreased noticeably," the report said.

"The European economy is confronted with weak domestic demand and a strong Euro that continues to hamper exports. In Southeast Asia, it appears the spreading of the SARS virus will have a negative effect on the region's economic growth. Prospects in the USA are modestly positive, and we expect a stronger recovery there during the second half."

For more information, visit www.linde.com

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