Weakness in manufacturer Manitou’s compact equipment products (CEP) division was offset by growth in its material handling and access (MHA) unit, resulting in flat revenues of €689 million for the first half of 2016.

The MHA business reported revenues for the first six months of 2016 of €475 million, up 11% year-on-year after benefitting from construction growth in Southern Europe, and a good performance in the industrial sector.

However, the CEP division posted revenues of €103 million for the first half, down 29% year-on-year. Manitou said weak demand from North American rental companies had impacted the result, compounded by a declining agricultural sector and dollar pressure on US exports.

With sales of €111 million, the services and solutions division reported an increase of 1% year-on-year, after continuing to develop new service offers and tools.

Manitou reported net income of €23 million for the six months to the end of June, up 34% year-o-year. Looking ahead, it said it expected to report an overall 2% increase in revenues for full-year 2016.

President and CEO Michel Denis said, “Southern Europe, which includes France, drove our good performance while the North American region was still strongly decreasing.

“From a market point of view, we achieved strong growth in the construction sector, especially business with rental companies and dealers boosted by the impact of the Macron law in France. Conversely the agricultural business suffered from the worldwide drop in milk prices and other commodities.

“This first half of the year should be one more milestone for the improvement of our profitability with a 110 basis points increase of our recurring operating income. This good beginning of the year combined with a stronger order book puts us ahead of our planned roadmap.

“This is most welcome in an environment where the agricultural business shows no sign of improvement in the short-term, where markets are exposed to the impact of Brexit and in which the seasonality of production rates might not be as favourable as in H1.

“This situation permits us to confirm sales growth prospects of around 2% in 2016 with an improved recurring operating income of approximately 50 basis points compared to December 2015."

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