With the JLG aerial segment being its strongest division, Oshkosh Corp. posted net income of $54.9 million in its fiscal first quarter, compared to $46.3 million a year ago. Consolidated net sales in the quarter were $1.53 billion, a 12.6-percent year-over-year decrease. Higher sales in each of the company’s non-defense segments were more than offset by lower defense segment sales.

Access equipment sales jumped 15 percent to $668.6 million for the quarter. The improvement was primarily the result of higher replacement-driven aerial work platform unit volumes in North America and Europe and favorable pricing, offset in part by the absence of military telehandler sales after the completion of a contract at the end of fiscal 2013. Sales of aerial equipment other than to the military increased 17.2 percent for the quarter compared to the same period a year ago.

The increase in aerial work platform unit volumes in North America was partially because of the acceleration of some orders in advance of Tier 4 engine price increases.

Access equipment operating income leapt 84.6 percent to $90.3 million, or 13.5 percent of sales, compared to $48.9 million a year ago.

“Ongoing strength in our access equipment segment, led by continued replacement demand in North America, offset the expected decline in our defense segment operating income,” said Charles Szews, Oshkosh Corp. CEO. “European rental companies also began placing orders for access equipment earlier in our fiscal year than in recent years, which could indicate a stronger recovery for access equipment in Europe in fiscal 2014 than previously expected.”

Wilson Jones, president and chief operating officer, said demand was strong for aerial products in the Middle East and Latin America.

JLG Industries is based in McConnellsburg, Pa. Oshkosh Corp. is headquartered in Oshkosh, Wis.