SWEDEN'S Kalmar Industries says net profit rose 76 per cent in the first quarter of this year over the comparable first three months of last year. Profit after net financial items amounted to 46 million kronor (about HK$47 million), compared with 26 million kronor for the period from January to March. Orders received during this first quarter rose to 547 million kronor, up 36 per cent over the corresponding period last year, while invoiced sales rose 21 per cent to 455 million kronor. This increase in demand is applicable over all product ranges. The marked growth in sales was not matched to the same level of output, despite significant productivity improvements carried out by Kalmar. The order backlog subsequently rose 41 per cent to 652 million kronor which was attributed partly to the sharp rise of orders but also to some problems experienced with deliveries from sub-contractors and component suppliers. Net debt has increased from 99 million kronor at year-end to 117 million kronor during the first quarter, although this is a significant improvement on the 203 million kronor net debt at the corresponding period last year. Equity to asset ratio was 46 per cent. Net profit per share for the first quarter was 2.4 kronor. Kalmar is a world-leading supplier of fork-lift trucks and the world-leading manufacturer of heavy duty fork-lift trucks and container handling reachstackers. It maintains two manufacturing facilities at Ljungby and Lidhult in southern Sweden with a total worldwide workforce of 1173. The product range is sold in more than 120 countries through six wholly owned subsidiaries.