Manitowoc recorded a 42% increase in crane sales in the first quarter of 2005, up from $252.6m in the first three months of 2004 to $358.0m this time.

Operating earnings nearly doubled to $20.4m, from $10.4m last year. The order backlog, which was $329m at the end of 2004, was $532m on 31 March.

‘Our global strategy is clearly paying off,” Manitowoc Company Inc CEO Terry Growcock said. ‘We saw increased demand in all of our geographic markets, with strong worldwide demand for tower cranes, mobile telescopic cranes, and boom trucks. Crawler crane demand has also been strong in many non-US markets.

“Looking ahead, our solid backlog gives us confidence that worldwide demand for our products continues to grow. Additionally, we continue to see signs – including increased utilisation rates and quoting activity – that the North American crawler crane market may begin to rebound later in 2005 or in early 2006.’