Material handling equipment maker Manitou last week announced fourth-quarter revenue of €306 million (about U.S. $415.1 million), a 1-percent decrease from €309.8 million in the same period of 2011. Full-year 2012 revenue, however, increased 12 percent to €1.27 billion (U.S. $1.72 billion) from €1.13 billion in 2011.

“We’re very pleased to deliver a 12-percent annual growth over 2011, quite an achievement in the current context,” said Jean-Christophe Giroux, Manitou president and CEO. “Yet the real good news is the Q4 uptick in order intake after a drop in Q3 that, looking back, appears more and more to be a technical consequence of our reduced lead times. Still, business remains very volatile and calls for greater agility, mainly for rental RFPs that are gradually coming back.

“Operationally, Q4 has been very difficult with a steep adjustment of our manufacturing throughput, and quality alerts from certain key components that we’re still evaluating from a technical and financial impact. Those elements, together with shrinking margins, will inevitably weigh on our consolidated margin, which we revise to 4 percent approximate range vs. our 5-percent guidance. This should not hide the progress towards a better operational performance and overall competitiveness moving forward.”

The Rough Terrain Handling Division generated revenue of €196.7 million (U.S. $266.9 million) down 8 percent versus Q411. Construction has been quite weak in Southern Europe but stable in Northern Europe, the company said.  

The Industrial Material Handling Division posted revenue of €42.2 million (U.S. $57.3 million) down 3 percent versus Q411, a shortfall primarily attributable to the Toyota mast subcontracting business. Other activities, including finishing Toyota forklift distribution, have been solid and driven by the new Manitou-branded forklift range launched in February 2012.

The Compact Equipment Division generated a 29-percent revenue growth at €67.4 million (U.S. $91.4 million) versus Q411 revenue of €52.4 million, fueled by growth in North America in agriculture and rental markets.

Manitou, headquartered in Ancenis, France, designs, assembles and distributes material-handling solutions for agriculture, construction and industry markets. Business is conducted under the Manitou, Gehl, Mustang, Loc and Edge trademarks.