European materials handling companies Manitou and Palfinger both posted record first half results while forecasting a strong financial performance for the full year.
Both companies noted an easing of inflation in the first half, with Palfinger saying the supply chain disruptions of previous years had also eased.
Manitou and Palfinger both warned of a slowdown in the construction sector in Europe.
French materials handling equipment maker Manitou reported net sales of EUR1.4 billion (USD1.53 billion) in the first half of 2023, a 33% increase on the same period a year earlier.
For the second quarter revenue was EUR 736 million (USD805 million), a 21% increase on the second quarter of last year.
Manitou president and chief executive officer Michel Denis says: "With an increase in revenues of 33% compared with the first half of 2022 and a near doubling of recurring operating profit, the first half of 2023 marks the group's comeback to very positive growth and performance.
“This record level of activity is the result of our high production levels, achieved in a context of better operational fluidity.
“Sales are increasing in all sectors and geographical areas. In terms of financial performance, the fast improvement in our profitability is the result of order book management, both in terms of price adjustments and order flow management, the slowdown in inflation on raw materials, and relentless action to raise our profitability.”
Denis says the outlook for Manitou’s markets are becoming less visible.
“In the construction sector, the slowdown we observed in Germany and the UK is gradually spreading across the European continent, while growth opportunities continue in other geographical areas.
“The suspension of order intake on certain product lines has contributed to the decline in the order book, which remains very deep,” he adds.
Denis says Manitou expects revenue growth of around 20% for the full year, with a recurring operating profit for 2023 to be more than 5.5% of revenues, compared with 3.6% for 2022.
Manitou makes fixed, rotary and heavy-tonnage rough-terrain telehandlers, rough-terrain, semi-industrial and industrial forklifts, skid and track loaders, articulated loaders, backhoe loaders, aerial work platforms, truck-mounted forklifts, storage equipment and attachments.
Palfinger reported record first half sales of EUR 1.21 billion (USD1.32 billion)
The Austrian crane-maker said the best first half result in its 91-year history was achieved with a revenue of EUR1.21 billion (USD1.3 billion), a 16.9% increase on the same period a year earlier.
In the first half, Palfinger said it had a consolidated net result of EUR 63.3 million (USD69.2 million).
“Despite persistently high interest rates, continued high inflation and uncertain geopolitical developments in the EMEA region, Palfinger enters the second half of 2023 with a record revenue and result,” the company said.
“The full effectiveness of the implemented price increases, a good product mix and the decline in raw material and freight prices contributed significantly to the outstanding first half year, as did improvements in the supply chains.”
Palfinger said North America was its biggest growth market, with a strong demand for service cranes and truck-mounted forklifts (TMFs).
“Capacities are being expanded to fully utilise the growth potential of the TMF product line,” the company said.
“Starting in September 2023, Steyr Automotive will take over assembly of truck-mounted forklifts for the North American market.
“By 2027, 1,700 truck-mounted forklifts are to be manufactured there annually.”
In June, Palfinger opened new North American headquarters near Chicago as part of its focus on the market.
Palfinger said it experienced a decline in orders from Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), particularly from the construction industry but its output remained stable because of a high order backlog.
The company noted the cost of raw materials and freight went down in the first half of the year and the supply chain continued to normalise.
“However, difficult truck availability and limited installation capacities for dealers led to high levels of inventory of finished products,” Palfinger said.
The company said it remained committed to its “ambitious” financial targets for the full year.
“Geopolitical and macroeconomic developments remain a major uncertainty factor,” Palfinger said.
“In addition, orders received in the EMEA region are expected to be significantly lower than in the previous year, because the construction industry is declining due to pressure from rising interest rates.”