VIENNA, May 7 (Reuters) - Austrian cranemaker Palfinger posted an 11-percent rise in first-quarter operating profit on Wednesday, meeting market expectations as European demand rose.
Earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) hit 20 million euros ($28 million), meeting the average estimate in a Reuters poll of analysts, as sales rose 18 percent to 268 million euros, beating the poll average of 257 million euros.
Palfinger said its rise in operating profit was solely due to Europe, as North America declined because of harsh weather and exchange rates hurt its results in Brazil and Russia.
"The management board expects that in the 2014 financial year revenue will exceed the 1 billion-euro threshold and thus reach another record level, even though in general market predictability continues to be extremely low," it said.
Palfinger said in February it had seen a "slight upward trend" in Europe in the second half of 2013 when reporting higher fourth-quarter sales and earnings.
$1 = 0.7177 Euros Reporting by Michael Shields; editing by Jason Neely