The Manitowoc Co., Manitowoc, Wis., reported fourth quarter 2009 sales of $838.7 million, which is down 31.1 percent from $1,216.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. The sales decrease was due primarily to a 49.1 percent decline in the Crane segment, which was partially offset by a 31.3 percent increase in the Foodservice segment.
For the full-year 2009, sales were $3.8 billion, a 16 percent decline from $4.5 billion in 2008. The net loss for 2009 was $704.2 million versus earnings of $10.0 million for the prior year. Excluding the special items, net earnings from continuing operations for 2009 were $46.8 million versus $368.6 million for 2008.
Fourth quarter 2009 net sales in the Crane segment were $480.2 million, down 49.1 percent from $943.6 million in the fourth quarter of 2008—but essentially even with those in the third quarter of 2009. Crane segment operating earnings for the fourth quarter of 2009 decreased to $18.3 million from $114.9 million in the same period last year. On a sequential quarter basis, operating earnings were down $2.5 million from the third quarter of 2009 due primarily to reduced overhead absorption.
Crane segment backlog totaled $573 million at December 31, 2009, a decline of 14.1 percent from the $667 million backlog at September 30, 2009. "The percentage decline in backlog diminished in the fourth quarter as the net positive order flow trend that began in March continued through December," said Glen Tellock, Manitowoc’s chairman and CEO. "The trend in our orders reflects improvement in current demand levels, most notably from Asia, Latin America, Africa, and the Middle East. We believe our strong position in emerging markets, as well as the global restructuring that we have been implementing should enable us to restore Crane segment revenue and earnings growth as the market improves."
Tellock said the company is encouraged by recently improving metrics and trends for 2010, despite the current challenging business environment. "We clearly exceeded our adjusted targets for cash flow and debt reduction, foodservice margin targets were achieved, and crane segment revenue was maintained at third-quarter levels,” he said. “We also expect that 2010 will see increasing benefits from the operational efficiencies, process improvements, cost reductions, and synergies that we implemented in 2009.”
He added that the company expects Crane segment revenues in the first half of 2010 to be significantly lower than the first half of 2009. “However, we expect Crane segment revenue gains in the second half of 2010 versus the second half of 2009,” Tellock said. “Additionally, we expect full-year operating margins in our Crane segment will track above the 3.5 percent trough margin that we experienced in 2003.”