Volvo hails ‘best year in history’

Swedish heavy truck maker Volvo AB said on Friday its net profit leapt 24.5 percent in 2006 to 16.318 billion kronor, on the back of record sales.

Turnover rose 7.0 percent to a record 248.135 billion kronor from 231.191 billion in 2005, the company said in a statement.

“We posted the best year in history, in terms of sales and earnings,” chief executive Leif Johansson said in the statement.

He said the company, which owns the Renault VI and Mack Truck brands, had made strong progrees in eastern Europe, with sales there rising “more than 40 percent”. But demand on the North American heavy lorry market was down and Volvo was modifying its production capacity to adapt to this trend.

Johansson forecast the heavy lorry market would remain strong in other regions in 2007.

“Indications point to continued strong global economy in 2007, however, with the exception of a weakening in North America,” he said.

In the fourth quarter of 2006, Volvo saw net profit jump 23.6 percent to 3.7 billion kronor, on the back of turnover that rose just 0.34 percent to 65 billion.