Ahead of the Bell: Manitowoc

Manitowoc shares rise after 4Q profit tops expectations

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of The Manitowoc Co. Inc. rose in premarket trading after the maker of cranes and food equipment reported a bigger-than-expected adjusted fourth-quarter profit.

Growth in sales of food service gear helped to offset declines in demand for cranes. Jefferies analyst Stephen Volkmann wrote that Manitowoc missed expectations from its operations, but made it up with a better-than-expected tax rate.

He has a "hold" rating and $24 price target on the stock.

On Thursday, the company reported net earnings of $20.9 million, or 15 cents per share, in the fourth quarter, down from $34.5 million, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier. Not counting special items, the company said it would have earned 47 cents per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a profit of 33 cents per share.

Revenue fell 2 percent to $1.1 billion, matching analyst estimates.

The crane business has been slow, but when Manitowoc reported results Thursday night it said it expects "modest" revenue growth in cranes this year, and high single-digit margins. It also predicted mid single-digit growth for food equipment, with margins in the high teens.

In premarket trading, the company's shares rose $1.64, or 6.6 percent, to $26.40, above their previous 52-week high of $26.03.

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