First quarter improvement for Manitowoc

Manitowoc Crane, which also includes Grove mobile cranes and Potain tower cranes has posted first quarter revenues 8.3 percent higher at $418 million.
The increase was attributable to higher crane shipments in the Americas and European regions, coupled with pricing improvements, partly offset by unfavourable changes in exchange rates. The pre-tax loss increased from 6.1 million in the same quarter last year to $23.4 million this year, entirely due to a $25 million charge for early extinguishment of its debt, when it refinanced on more favourable terms in March. Without this the company would have been back in the black with a profit of $1.6 million. At the operating profit level it made $16.2 million compared to just $1.7 million last year. Full year revenues are now forecast to be three to seven percent higher at $1.9 to $1.97 billion.

Chief executive Barry Pennypacker said: “Manitowoc once again delivered a strong start to the year, delivering our eighth straight quarter of year over year adjusted EBITDA margin increase. The operating principles of The Manitowoc Way continue to produce improving financial results as we execute our strategy for profitable growth by delivering innovation and velocity in everything we do.”

“In March, we successfully refinanced our capital structure to further strengthen our balance sheet. This action increases liquidity, reduces interest expense and allows us more flexibility to deploy our capital in order to increase shareholder value.”

“Market conditions remain very competitive. We continue to focus on providing innovative products and services for customers as evidenced by positive customer reception to our six new cranes introduced at the bauma trade show in April. As a result of our first-quarter performance and our proven ability to execute on our strategy, we are raising our full-year guidance.”

Vertikal Comment

Manitowoc continues to introduce some very interesting and potentially attractive products, including new Grove All Terrains and Potain tower cranes. It is also working on changing its management structure to move away from its centralised ‘matrix’ style that tended to stifle local managers and their ability to react to customer related issues.
Grove is likely to be a major beneficiary from the loss of one of the four major European crane manufacturers, with the merger of Tadano’s European operations with those of Demag likely to begin sooner, rather than later. The challenges that Tadano will inevitably face in restructuring or integrating the Demag operations will inevitably throw up some promising opportunities, although Liebherr will also be looking to take them of course.

With a little luck and barring any unforeseen disruption, Manitowoc could move back over the $2 billion revenue threshold this year, with much of the gain dropping through to the bottom line