Manitou raised its forecast for full-year sales as a strong
performance in construction outweighed the impact of a slowdown in agricultural
sales, which prompted the group to cut production in the sector.
The French based group said it was expected sales of about
5% for 2014, compared with the previous forecast of "stable" takings.
And it raised to 2.8-3.3% its forecast for operating income
margin for the full year, compared with 1.8% last year, and a previous forecast
The upgrades came as Manitou reported a 9.8% increase to
E350.6m in revenues for the April-to-June quarter, up from the 7.2% growth
rated reported in the first three months of the year.
'Weak and uncertain demand'
The acceleration came despite weakness in the agriculture
sector as Manitou, like other farm machinery manufacturers, confronted the dent
to farm investment programmes from lower crop prices.
"The agriculture business was faced with weak and uncertain
demand," Manitou said, adding that this had prompted it to make a "downward adjustment"
in its production of farm vehicles.
Manitou is best known in agriculture for its telehandlers,
used for the likes of shifting bales or grain, although its forklifts are also
popular for farm uses, such as stacking potato crates.
And Michel Denis, the Manitou chief executive, foresaw
further weakness in agriculture ahead, saying that "the agriculture business as
a whole recorded a slowdown in order intake, the impact of which should be felt
in the second half".
'Especially strong growth'
However, Manitou achieved particular growth in construction,
where it "benefitted from the continued strong demand of rental companies, as
well as the strong performance of the telescopic forklift truck and aerial work
Business was notably busy in the UK, "where there was a recovery
with especially strong growth".
Overall sales of the rough terrain handling division,
Manitou's biggest business, which includes the telehandlers, rose 10.8% to E248.3m
despite the agriculture slowdown.
The figures were released after the close of Paris markets,
where Manitou shares close down 0.3% at E11.61 on Wednesday, not far above