March 13 - "On the whole, 2014 was a challenging year for the company owing to the unexpected crisis in Ukraine and the exceptional decrease in the price of oil," said Nurminen Logistics president and ceo Olli Pohjanvirta.

Nurminen posted net sales of EUR52.8 million (USD5.6 million) for the 2014 financial year - a decrease of 17.3 percent compared with 2013.

The company's special transport and projects business unit's net sales for 2014 amounted to EUR7.7 million (USD8.1 million) with an operating result of EUR163,000 (USD172,000). This was a fall from 2013's figures, which Nurminen put down to decreased volumes in the projects business. 

"The project and special transport unit did not obtain the set goals owing to a slow market and the deferral of some projects previously agreed to be delivered to Russia," said Pohjanvirta. Moreover, the volumes of international project deliveries by the engineering industry remained low in the fourth quarter of 2014, said Nurminen.

However, the acquisition of new customers helped to compensate for the substantial decline in volumes from a few key customers, the company said. The unit's result also improved due to cost savings and successful equipment renewal. Late in 2014, the company invested in its project and special transport business in Russia, by opening a new branch in Moscow and strengthening its resources in St Petersburg.

In spite of the unsatisfactory development of the Finnish economy and the substantial depreciation of the Russian rouble, Nurminen says that it was nevertheless able to expand its clientele in 2014 in all of its business units.

Commenting on the outlook for 2015, Pohjanvirta said: "The market conditions are not likely to change from 2014 in Finland. While imports are likely to decrease, exports will increase in the engineering industry and forestry exports will maintain the commendable level of 2014.

"However, economic development trends will significantly affect the price level. If the price of oil goes up and the geopolitical situation in Ukraine calms down, we may see surprisingly positive economic impacts. Correspondingly, the market will deteriorate if the conditions do not change.

"The company's most important objectives in 2015 are to develop company services and react swiftly to market changes."