Growth slows at Manitou

Telehandler and aerial lift manufacturer Manitou has reported slower sales growth in the third quarter.

Starting with the nine month numbers to the end of September, total revenues were €1.6 billion up 18 percent on the same period in 2018. This was made up of Material handling sales – mostly telehandlers and aerial lifts – of €1.12 billion an increase of 21 percent, while Compact Equipment sales – largely Gehl – were 10 percent higher at €248 million, while parts and services improved 12 percent to €229 million.

Geographically sales in Southern Europe increased 26 percent to €525 million, with Northern Europe 14 percent higher at €626 million. Sales in the Americas were €302 million up 22 percent on the year, while Asia Pacific was marginally lower at €145 million.

Moving on to the third quarter total revenues improved just four percent on last year to €436 million, made up of €293 million from the material handling division, six percent higher than in 2018, while Compact Equipment sales slumped seven percent to €69 million, largely due to a major flood at the company’s plant in Madison, South Dakota. Parts and service revenues were nine percent higher at €74 million.

Geographically third quarter sales in Southern Europe improved eight percent to €127 million while northern Europe declined three percent to €172 million. The Americas recorded 18 percent sales growth to €93 million with Asia Pacific falling six percent to €43 million.

Third quarter order intake was almost 30 percent lower at €244 million, leaving the order book/backlog at €526 million, more than 36 percent down on this point in 2018.

The company will not publish its full results and profit numbers until later.

Chief executive Michel Denis said: “Sales growth in the third quarter was up four percent compared to the third quarter of 2018, and 18 percent for the first nine months of the year compared to the first nine months of 2018, confirming the start of the slowdown already announced.”
“Order intake is down, as a result of declining markets (particularly in the USA and Northern Europe) and the shortening of our delivery times, allowing our order book to match the deadlines adapted to our customers' needs.”

To date, this evolution does not affect our expectation of revenue growth of around 10 percent for the full 2019 financial year. Following the above mentioned items and a six week shutdown of our Madison plant due to floods, we expect a lower increase in current operating income in 2019, by 10 to 30 basis points”.

Vertikal Comment

The speed of the slowdown I the third quarter is a little surprising, although some of this was due to the US plant shutdown due to flooding, which will also have some impact on the fourth quarter. The trend is not at all surprising given the current economic uncertainty, particularly in the UK and USA. While the company should post a decent year of growth in 2019, 2020 could be a good deal slower. However Manitou still has plenty of markets to go after both for its telehandler range and aerial work platforms where it is still a niche player, but one with a decent product line and a strong brand name.

While 2020 looks uncertain, we do know that the pace of change is increasingly rapid, which could result in next year being better than current fears.


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