Manitou's MI series forklift.
The Manitou Group has reported a 9% growth in equipment sales for the first half of 2014 compared to the same period last year.
CEO Michael Denis says: "The 2014 half-year results were totally in line with our roadmap and confirmed the forecasted improvement in the group's financial performance. The 9% growth in sales compared to H1 2013 was achieved within a difficult environment and permitted us to strengthen our market position through improvements in our marketshare."
The group's gross margin improved from 13.7% to 14.5% of sales for the first six months of this year. Operating income from continued operations totalled EUR24.5 million (USD32.2 million) or 3.8% of sales (0.9% in H1 2013).
Manitou welcomes the downward trend in the euro exchange rate in recent months as "very good news", attributing its positive results to the exchange rate move and "continued efforts to reduce general overheads".
The Rough Terrain Handling division realised sales of EUR449.2 million (USD589.9 million), 13% higher than the first half of 2013. The division also experienced a decrease in external expenses and benefitted from the decline in the euro.
The Industrial Material division achieved sales of EUR59.3 million (USD77.9 million), a decrease of 13% compared to the first half of 2013.
A Manitou industrial expert adds that the group's performance for its industrial product lines has been strong since the introduction of the MI series in early 2012. "We have grown this segment unit wise by 70% (excluding the impact of stopping Toyota sales in France).
"During the first six months of 2014, our sales of industrial forklifts has been consistently growing double digits in each and every market we are actively participating in."
He says the group will enlarge its industrial ICE forklift range, the MI series, in 2015, by introducing larger machines to the market.
The Compact Equipment division reported sales of EUR133.4 million (USD175.2 million), an increase of 5% compared to the first half of 2013.
The group, headquartered in Ancenis, France, designs, manufactures and distributes materials handling solutions for the construction, agricultural and industrial sectors. Manitou's products are branded Manitou, Gehl, Mustang, Loc and Edge, and sold through 1,400 independent dealers in over 120 countries.