Sales of Manitowoc crawler cranes and boom trucks fell marginally in 2000 to $376.3m, compared with $389.5m in 1999, which was Manitowoc Cranes’ best year ever recorded. Operating earnings for 2000 were $62.9m, compared with $64.8m in 1999.

The order backlog for cranes stood at $93.4m on 31 December 2000, compared with $136m twelve months previously.

“Manitowoc is the gold standard in the crane business, and we continued strengthening our brand through several new-product innovations across our crane and boom truck businesses in 2000,” said president and chief executive officer Terry Growcock.

“Like many construction equipment manufacturers, Manitowoc saw its sales sag in the second half of 2000. In particular, demand for our 80 ton and 100 ton capacity cranes and smaller boom trucks slowed dramatically in the second half of the year. In addition, sales were also affected by intensified pricing pressures in many of our end markets.” Commenting on the prospects of the crane operation, Growcock added: “While we anticipate that market demand in 2001 will decline, especially for smaller capacity cranes and boom trucks, rising levels of construction activity throughout the entire energy sector should continue to drive the demand for our core heavy-lift cranes.

“Our investments in product development and brand building have positioned us to succeed in this challenging environment. We have also been introducing a new crane platform and lift-enhancing attachment each year for the past several years and we will continue those efforts again this year.” But the group as a whole, Manitowoc Inc recorded its sixth year of growth, with net sales up 5.9% to $873.3m. Net earnings fell to $60.3m from 1999’s $66.8m.

The figure of $34.4m for EVA (economic value added) was second only to 1999’s EVA of $43.2m.