"We reported net sales for the first quarter of $427.4 million, which increased $20.7 million from a year ago. Operating earnings in the first quarter were $9.5 million versus a loss of $7.3 million last year. This resulted in a first quarter Cranes’ operating margin of 2.2% compared with negative 1.8% last year," said Laurino. "This year-over-year increase was due to actions taken over the last 12 months to right-size the business including plant rationalizations, reductions in force and other operating efficiencies."

The company reported a net loss for the first quarter of $204 million, which was attributed to early extinguishment of debt ($72m), restructuring and one-time tax items ($121m). The restructuring has seen the separation of Manitowoc’s crane business and foodservice business into two independent publically traded companies, which was completed in March. The company also identified $4m restructuring expenses related to the reduction of workforce at Manitowoc’s North American facilities in Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Chief executive and president of Manitowoc Cranes Barry Pennypacker said of the results that although he was encouraged by the year on year improvement in the company’s operating performance, there is a long way to go towards the previously stated goal of double-digit operating margins. An operating margin of 4% is forecast by the firm for 2016. "We continue to be confronted with difficult macroeconomic conditions. And while we saw some growth in certain product lines, tower cranes in particular, the global challenges we’re facing will likely persist. Despite these headwinds, we’re making proactive changes throughout our operations that will position Manitowoc for improved financial performance in the future."

Proactive changes at the company include improving productivity by embracing lean manufacturing principals. "We are starting in our largest global facility in Shady Grove, Pennsylvania. We’re starting with a summit there of The Manitowoc Way in early June," he said. "I am a firm believer that you will see substantial productivity improvements in the P&L as a result of our Lean."

For the full-year 2016, Manitowoc said it expected flat revenues, operating margins of approximately 4 %, depreciation of between $45m and $55m, amortisation expenses of $3m and $4m and capital expenditures of $45m to $55m (down from $55m to $65m in previous forecast.

In terms of the resignation of CFO Carl Laurino, Pennypacker explained that Laurino would remain with the company until the end of June to assist with the transition. David Antoniuk is joining the company on 31 May.

"Carl joined Manitowoc in 2000 and has held positions with increasing responsibility throughout the years and has been instrumental in leading the separation of the Cranes and Foodservice business. I’d like to thank Carl for his dedicated service and wish him all the best in the future," said Pennypacker.

Antoniuk joins Manitowoc from pharmaceutical company Colorcon Inc., where he served as vice president and chief financial officer since February 2015. Prior to this he was vice president and corporate controller at manufacturer Gardener Denver, where he worked alongside Pennypacker who was president and chief executive of the company between 2008 and 2012. Pennypacker went on to form Quantum Lean LLC, a manufacturer and supplier of precision components, before joining Manitowoc as president and chief executive of Manitowoc Cranes in December 2015. This followed the resignation of Glen Tellock in October 2015. Chairman of the Board Kenneth Krueger had been interim CEO and President.

On appointing Pennypacker Krueger said that his "deep industrial expertise coupled with the successful execution of numerous lean initiatives throughout his career, makes him an excellent candidate to build on Manitowoc Crane’s leading market positions to return the business to growth and improved profitability."