The Manitowoc Co. today reported sales of $1.015 billion for the third quarter of 2013, an increase of 7.1 percent compared to sales of $947.5 million in the third quarter of 2012. The sales increase was primarily driven by a 10.4-percent increase in the company’s crane segment.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported net earnings of $52.9 million, or 39 cents per diluted share, in the third quarter compared to earnings of $22.2 million, or 17 cents per diluted share in the third quarter last year.

“Our results for the third quarter demonstrate our efforts to deliver sustainable organic improvements through operational initiatives and new product introductions in spite of a tepid macro environment,” said Glen Tellock, Manitowoc chairman and CEO. “With continuing growth, expanding margins, and strong cash flows, the focus on our core competencies underscores our ability to navigate through the prolonged uncertainty that exists in the marketplace. As we look longer term, we will continue to solidify our competitive positioning globally through the steadfast execution of our strategic imperatives.”

In Manitowoc’s crane division, third-quarter net sales were $612.6 million, up 10.4 percent from $555.1 million in the third quarter of 2012, driven primarily by growth in the Americas region as a result of increased crawler crane activity, as well as ongoing success with Manitowoc Crane Care, the company’s aftermarket product support program. Crane segment operating earnings for the third quarter were $55.7 million, a 110.2-percent leap from $26.5 million in the same period a year ago. Operating margin was 9.1 percent for the quarter, compared to 4.8 percent in the year-ago period. Improved third-quarter earnings were driven by higher sales volume and operational efficiencies.

Crane segment backlog totaled $568 million as of Sept. 30, a decrease of $158 million from the second quarter. Third-quarter 2013 orders of $450 million were 23-percent lower than the third quarter of 2012.

“While the global markets have not rebounded to the degree that we had expected, we generated solid third-quarter sales growth and notable margin improvement, driven by strength in our crawler crane product line, the success of our new products, as well as the execution of our lean manufacturing, purchasing and product quality initiative,” added Tellock. “Order intake, however, did track lower than expected, reflecting the cautious and conservative spending actions of many customers. Despite these headwinds, we continue to execute our strategies and focus on the areas that we can control, which will ultimately drive long-term, sustainable growth and margin improvement, including expanding our global footprint, accelerating new product innovation and driving operational excellence.”

Manitowoc also has a foodservice segment. The company is headquartered in Manitowoc, Wis.