Soft crane markets and a strike in a shipbuilding yard prompted to Manitowoc Company Inc to announced on 25 March that its first quarter earnings would be 40% less than it had previously expected.

The company said that it “continues to be affected by difficult domestic crane markets, principally for its crawler cranes, and an unstable geopolitical environment”.

Added to this, 700 workers at the company’s Marinette Marine division went on strike for 44 days until 7 March. The company now expects first-quarter earnings per share to be approximately break even. The strike is expected to reduce first-quarter earnings per share by approximately $0.12 to $0.15.

“Despite our lowered earnings expectations for the first quarter, we remain committed to achieving cash flow from operations of at least $100m for the year as our diversified model continues to provide stability in challenging times,” said Terry Growcock, chairman and chief executive officer. “In addition, we are continuing to focus on our proven strategies of operational excellence and new-product development to position ourselves to excel when our markets and the economy improve.” Shares in the company fell 11% after the announcement from $19.19 to $17.13.