The Manitowoc Co. posted sales of $986.3 million for the third quarter of 2014, a 2.5-percent decrease compared to sales of $1.012 billion in the same period a year ago. The crane division declined by 6.7 percent, while Manitowoc’s food service division increased by 3.8 percent.

However, on a GAAP basis, Manitowoc reported net earnings of $73.1 million compared to $52.9 million a year ago, because of an income tax benefit of $18.1 million. Excluding special items, third quarter adjusted earnings from continuing operations was $50.1 million compared to $54.5 million in Q313.

“Our third quarter results reflect the muted demand environment brought on by uncertainty in the global economy,” said Glen Tellock, Manitowoc chairman and CEO. “This cycle has proven to be unlike any other, and our performance in times of uncertainty will depend in large part on our ability to improve the agility of our business by focusing on the areas that are within our control. We have maintained an unrelenting commitment to innovation, product quality and reliability, while concurrently executing our Lean manufacturing, sourcing, and cost initiatives across the enterprise. This focus will ultimately position Manitowoc for long-term growth and profitability.”

Third quarter 2014 net sales in the Crane segment were $569.2 million, compared to $610.2 million in the year-ago quarter. The decline in sales was the resuilt of volume decreases that were most pronounced in the boom truck and rough-terrain product categories.

“The continuing decline in the rough-terrain and boom-truck markets in North America and Latin America have continued to negatively impact our Crane segment performance,” said Tellock. “However, we remain focused on the areas of the business within our control, which include executing our manufacturing initiative and capturing purchasing savings as we strive for improved performance to close out the year.”