Malaysian engineering group Muhibbah Engineering Bhd has blamed the slow start of its crawler crane business for its first loss as a public company.

Muhibbah reported a loss after tax of RM35m ($9.2m) for the financial year ended 31 December 2000, its first loss since the company listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in 1994.

In a statement the company said that the US-based crawler crane operation had had ‘a longer gestation period than anticipated’