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Manitex International, Inc.’s (MNTX - Snapshot Report) first-quarter 2013 earnings per share increased 45.5% on a year-over-year basis to 16 cents a share and exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 13 cents.

Operational Updates

Sales increased 39% year over year to $59.5 million in the quarter, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $56 million. The year-over-year growth was led by an increase in demand to drive production at several facilities.

Gross profit during the quarter increased 19% to $10.2 million from $8.5 million in the prior-year quarter. Gross margin, however, contracted 280 basis points to 17.1% in the quarter, resulting from an increase in the mix of lower capacity cranes and chassis, reduction in higher margin parts sales and a short-term increase in manufacturing expense.

Selling, general and administrative expenses surged 14.5% to $6.1 million, driven by increased sales expense, employee related expense including incentive compensation and costs for Sarbanes Oxley.

Operating income was $3.3 million compared with $2.5 million in the prior-year quarter. Operating margin decreased 40 bps to 5.4% in the quarter.

Financial Update

As of Mar 31, 2013, Manitex had cash and cash equivalents of $2.1 million, up from $1.9 million as of Dec 31, 2012. Total debt increased to $52 million as of Mar 31, 2013 from $49 million as of Dec 31, 2012. Cash flow used in operating activities was $2.5 million in the reported quarter compared with $2.2 million in the year-ago quarter. Total backlog as of Mar 31, 2013 was $107.8 million compared to $130.3 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

Outlook

Manitex retains its previous guidance with expectations for a modest economic improvement in the U.S. and weakness in Europe. The growth will be driven by adding products to its portfolio and acquisitions that fit strategically with the company.  This will contribute materially to its bottom-line performance. The company expects to generate 50% of its sales from the energy area and the balance from general commercial markets. Manitex remains committed to introducing ground breaking products with the introduction of the Manitex TC 700 crane, which will provide significant sales upside.

Bridgeview, Ill.-based Manitex International is a leading provider of engineered lifting solutions including boom truck and rough terrain cranes, rough terrain forklifts, special mission oriented vehicles, container handling equipment and specialized engineered trailers.

Manitex currently retains a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Other stocks in the same industry with favorable Zacks Ranks are Altra Holdings, Inc. (AIMC - Snapshot Report), Graco Inc. (GGG - Snapshot Report) and Sun Hydraulics Corp. (SNHY - Snapshot Report); each carrying  a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
 

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