For the full year 2014 sales revenue at Manitowoc Cranes was down 8 % to $2.3 billion. Operating earnings declined from $218.8 million in 2013 to $163.9 million in 2014.
In the fourth quarter 2014 net sales were also down, from $704.8 million a year earlier, to $663.2 million. Manitowoc attributed the decline to a “negative impact of foreign currency exchange rates between the Euro and US dollar, higher price discounting, and volume decreases that were most pronounced in the rough terrain and boom truck product categories.”
Manitowoc Company chairman and CEO, Glen Tellock, commented, “Uncertainty among our customers remains at the forefront of their purchasing decisions. Ongoing global softness in the rough terrain and boom truck markets, coupled with declining oil prices, created a challenging environment for the segment. However, we continue to focus on the areas within our control, such as cost optimisation strategies which include lean initiatives and capturing savings through sourcing and purchasing initiatives. As we enter 2015 we anticipate that worldwide crane demand levels will remain very challenging in the near-term, but we are encouraged by our improved order intake, a strengthening backlog, and the strong market acceptance of our VPC crawler crane technology. As a result, we continue to position the business to capture the upside for significant cyclical growth with key investments to drive additional new product innovation, speed of new product introductions, and aftermarket product support initiatives.”
Operating earnings for the fourth quarter of 2014 were $45.3 million, down from $54.8 million in the same period of 2013, giving an operating margin of 6.8 % for the fourth quarter of 2014 against 7.8 % in the same quarter of 2013.
Order backlog in the crane business was $738 million at the end of December 2014, a 28.6 % increase from the prior year. Orders in the fourth quarter were up more than 20 % from the previous quarter but down 3% on the same quarter a year earlier.
In outlook, for the full year 2015, Manitowoc forecasts a mid-single-digit percentage decline in crane revenue and a crane division operating margin in the high single-digit percentage range.