Fourth-quarter 2005 net sales for Manitowoc Crane Group increased 22% to $438.9 million, up from $358.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2004. Operating earnings increased 89% to $30 million, from $15.9 million in the same period 2004.

“Manitowoc exceeded its own expectations for financial performance in 2005, and we have set even higher goals for 2006,” said Terry Growcock, Manitowoc chairman and CEO. “Global demand for our broad line of lifting solutions has driven performance in our crane segment to record levels.”

In more detail Growcock explained: “Our crane segment's strong performance reflects steadily improving global market dynamics as well as the benefits of a broad product line. Demand for premium lifting solutions continues to strengthen in our key industry markets. Market indicators for crawler cranes, such as rising rental rates and improved fleet utilization, continue to improve in North America, while our efforts at cross-leveraging our tower crane product line into North America are also showing success. Demand for mobile cranes is robust as global construction activity continues to ramp up in the energy, transportation, and industrial infrastructure segments. We meet this global demand with a global offering for our customers that meet their diverse needs anywhere in the world.”

The strength of the crane segment's end markets is reflected in its backlog, which totaled $866 million, an increase of 37% from September 30, 2005, and more than double the $340 million on order at December 31, 2004, a company statement said.

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