The Manitowoc Co. last week reported sales of $1.22 billion for the fourth quarter of 2008, a 16-percent increase from $1.05 billion in the fourth quarter of 2007. Results for the quarter were a net loss of $36.5 million, or a loss of $0.28 per share, versus earnings of $99.2 million, or $0.76 per share in the fourth quarter of the prior year. The earnings decline was due to the acquisition of Enodis plc, partially offset by the gain on the divestiture of the Marine segment, both of which were completed during the fourth quarter of 2008.
Excluding the impacts of the Enodis acquisition, the gain on sale of the Marine segment, the early extinguishment of debt, and a restructuring charge taken in the Crane segment, earnings from continuing operations for the quarter were $66.5 million, or $0.51 per share, versus $96.1 million, or $0.74 per share, in the fourth quarter of 2007.
For the full-year 2008, sales were $4.50 billion, a 22-percent increase from $3.68 billion in 2007. Net earnings for 2008 were $174.0 million, or $1.32 per share, versus $336.7 million, or $2.64 per share in the prior year.
"This has been a transformational year for Manitowoc," said Glen Tellock, president and CEO. "We are successfully executing our long-term strategy of building market-leadership positions in our two core markets: cranes and commercial foodservice equipment. In addition, we have divested our Marine segment and are now focusing all resources and management efforts on expanding our competitive position within our two remaining segments.
"Like most companies, we are feeling the impact of the global economic slowdown. We have taken appropriate actions and we will make additional changes to our businesses as market dynamics continue to unfold in 2009. We intend to build on our leadership positions during this slowdown and emerge as an even stronger competitor."
The company also announced last week in a call with analysts that it will lay off one in five of its workers as a result of the dramatic decline in demand — 22 percent of its employees in total. Affected workers are located at facilities in France, Portugal, China, India and Shady Grove Pa.
Fourth-quarter 2008 net sales in the Crane segment were $943.6 million, essentially flat with net sales of $945.5 million in the prior year. Crane segment operating earnings for the fourth quarter of 2008 decreased to $114.9 million from $141.7 million in the same period last year. Crane segment backlog totaled $1.9 billion at Dec. 31, 2008, a decrease of 34 percent from the $2.9 billion backlog at Dec. 31, 2007.
"As we stated in our January 8 announcement, we are experiencing a weakening demand in the Crane segment, and we estimate a decline in crane sales of approximately 20 percent in 2009," said Tellock. "Although demand for lighter lift capacity cranes has softened globally, demand for higher capacity cranes in the U.S. and Asia remains relatively stable. However, demand in Europe and the Middle East has weakened considerably compared to the peak we experienced in the first half of 2008.”
The company’s crane backlog in Europe plunged 80 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008 compared with the same period in 2007, according to Eric Etchart, Manitowoc Cranes president.
"We are reiterating our previous earnings guidance for 2009 of $1.35 to $1.60 per diluted share, before special items," Tellock added. "This is based on anticipated revenue of approximately $3.2 billion for the Crane segment and approximately $1.7 billion in the Foodservice segment. These expected results include the full-year impact of the Enodis acquisition, excluding the Enodis ice operation. Operating margins for both segments are projected to be in the low double-digit percentage range for the year."
Headquartered in Manitowoc, Wis., The Manitowoc Co. is a multi-industry, capital goods manufacturer with more than 100 manufacturing and service facilities in 27 countries. It provides lifting equipment for the global construction industry, including lattice-boom cranes, tower cranes, mobile telescopic cranes and boom trucks. The company also manufactures commercial foodservice equipment serving the ice, beverage, refrigeration, food prep and cooking needs of restaurants, convenience stores, hotels, healthcare and institutional applications.