Manitowoc had a record first quarter this year, selling $ 358 million-worth of cranes, and its operating profits almost doubled, from $ 10.4 million in the year-ago period to $ 20.4 million for Q1 2005. Chairman and CEO, Terry D. Growcock, commented, “we continue to see signs – including increased utilization rates and quoting activity – that the North American crawler crane market may begin to rebound later in 2005 or in early 2006.” The company's order book certainly points towards a general improvement. Its order backlog increased to $ 532 million in Q1, up a staggering $ 192 million in the three short months from $ 340 million at the end of 2004. The comparison to the year-ago period is also favourable – its like-for-like backlog (excluding discontinued operations) was $ 329 million at the end of the first quarter of 2004.

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