Net sales for the first quarter of 2015 at Manitowoc Cranes were US$406.7 million, down more than 10% from the $466.7 million in the first quarter of 2014.
The USA-based manufacturer attributed the decline primarily to lower revenue from boom truck and rough terrain sales and the negative impact of foreign currency exchange rates between the Euro and US dollar.
Operating earnings for the first quarter of 2015 were $9.7 million, down more than 50% from $22.6 million in the same period of 2014. The operating margin was 2.4%, down from 4.8% in the first quarter a year earlier. Order backlog was $770 million on 31 March 2015, up by $32 million, or 4.3%, from the previous quarter and down 8.6% from the same quarter a year earlier.
“During the quarter we witnessed pockets of strength in certain product categories, including all terrain market share growth, as well as year-over-year growth in the Middle East and Asia-Pacific regions. However, global weakness continued to negatively impact our rough terrain and boom truck markets,” said Glen Tellock, Manitowoc chairman and chief executive officer.
“In spite of the challenging market conditions, we have not wavered in our commitment to improve the agility of our business, which led to a significant reduction in working capital and free cash flow improvements during the quarter. In addition, we were pleased to see our technological leadership in the market place validated by the ITC’s recent final determination that underscored the clear differentiation of our patented Variable Position Counterweight technology. We anticipate an improving second half will enable us to reach our full-year expectations for the business, in spite of lacklustre market conditions.”
For the full year 2015 Manitowoc forecasts a decline in crane revenue around 5% and the operating margin to be a high single-digit percentage. The company said it is on track for the separation of its Cranes and Foodservice businesses, anticipated for the first quarter of 2016.