Manitou expects slowdown after strong second quarter

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Manitou said it was expecting a slowdown in order intake going forward as equipment buyers responded to economic problems “whether real or anticipated” and said its forecast growth this year was now 10%, at the low end of its previous 10-15% forecast.

The slightly revised outlook came as the company reported a strong set of results for the second quarter of the year, with total sales up 21% on the same quarter in 2001.

Manitou’s sales in the Americas and Asia Pacific/Middle East/Africa performed the best, with increases of 42% and 55% respectively, while sales in Northern Europe (including Russia) were up 22%. Sales in Southern Europe – its most important territory and including France – saw much slower growth at just 4%.

Product wise, both the Compact Equipment and Rough Terrain Handling divisions reported good growth, at 24% and 22%, respectively, with the Industrial Material Handling division quieter at 9% growth.

Jean-Christophe Giroux, Manitou president and chief executive officer, said it has been a great second quarter, but that a change was coming; “despite good levels to date, we now expect a slowdown in order intake, to reflect on a global environment where negative situations – whether real or just anticipated – now generalise over positive ones.”

Mr Giroux said Manitou had made a big effort to bring lead times on its rough terrain machines “down to acceptable market levels”. He said the company would continue to focus on ramping up production of new models and that these efforts, coupled with lower than expected volumes, would impact on full-year profit margins, which are now expected to be around 5% rather than 5.5%.

“The new environment confirms that the industry is moving away from long and steep cycles to shorter and more contrasted market situations where reactivity, adaptability and flexibility will be key”, said Mr Giroux.

Total sales for the quarter were €356.6 million, compared to €295.3 million in the second quarter of 2011. Sales in the Americas were €62.5 million and €42.3 million in Asia Pacific/Middle East. European sales were €251.8 million in the quarter.

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