Manitowoc sales drop, backlog rises 7%

By Alex Dahm04 May 2010

Sales for the first quarter of 2010 in Manitowoc's Crane segment were down 45.5% from a year earlier but the order backlog was up 7% from the previous quarter.

Order backlog was US$613 million at 31 March 2010, up 7.0% from the $573 million backlog at 31 December 2009.

Net sales of $366.8 million for the first quarter of 2010 were down from $672.9 million in the first quarter of 2009. First quarter 2010 sales were 23.6% lower than the $480.2 million from Q4 2009.

Operating earnings for the first quarter of 2010 also decreased, to $4.5 million from $56.5 million in the same period 2009. Operating earnings were down $13.8 million from the fourth quarter of 2009 largely due to lower sales volumes.

"While the first quarter results reflect the difficult operating conditions we are facing, we reported our first sequential increase in quarterly backlog since June 2008. Consistent with last quarter, we are seeing some bright spots in emerging markets such as Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, which are being offset by continued weakness in North America and Western Europe as expected," said Glen Tellock, Manitowoc Company chairman and chief executive.

"Our strategy has not changed; we continue to focus on positioning this business for growth as we emerge from this downturn. We are also taking advantage of our position in emerging markets globally. We have maintained our efforts to strengthen our entire organization through operational efficiencies and cost management, while investing in areas that will drive the highest return over the long-term such as innovation and aftermarket support," Tellock continued.

Looking ahead, Manitowoc forecasts:

year-on-year declines in revenue significantly lower than the decline in 2009

revenues in the first half of 2010 to be lower than the first half of 2009

revenues in the second half of 2010 to be higher than the second half of 2009

full year crane operating margins to be above the 3.5% trough margins in 2003.

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