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Grove sales up

profits decrease

September 12, 2000

Grove sales up; profits decrease



By RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro


SHADY GROVE, Pa. - Grove Worldwide released third quarter results Tuesday that showed net sales up by nearly 8 percent over the same period a year ago, but the overall picture showed a general decrease in profits of $1.7 million in the third quarter, which ended July 31.

Grove last Friday announced the permanent layoffs of nearly 10 percent of its work force in all departments. In all 260 workers lost their jobs.

On Tuesday, many furloughed Grove workers were signing up for jobless benefits at a temporary state unemployment office set up in the Shady Grove Community Center.

While sales of mobile hydraulic cranes - Grove's main product line - showed gains for the quarter, they were partially offset by a major slump in sales of Grove Manlift products, according to the financial report.

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Grove managers blamed an unsuccessful effort this summer by the United Steel Workers of America to organize local workers for "manufacturing inefficiencies" for the drop in profits.

Darrell Vance, a local union organizer, was among those laid off Friday.

He said about 300 workers served on the local organizing committee and that many of them were among those who were laid off. "We're checking to see how many on the committee lost their jobs," Vance said. He said one laid-off worker had worked for Grove for 20 years.

In announcing the layoffs Friday, Keith Simmons, Grove senior vice president, said seniority would not be followed in every case because of the need to retain workers with critical skills, especially in welding and machining.

According to the fiscal report, gross profit decreased $1.7 million, or 4.3 percent, down to $37.4 million in the third quarter. The third quarter in 1999 reported gross profits of $39.1 million.

In year-to-date results, Grove reported that net sales increased $49 million, or 8.8 percent to $606.7 million in fiscal 2000 from $557.7 million in fiscal 1999. In the same period gross profit decreased $1.7 million down $102.9 million or 1.6 percent from the $104.6 million reported for fiscal 1999.

The report blamed the decrease on a decline in Manlift sales.

Grove Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said in the financial report that "While National Crane and our European operations are having a record year in FY2000, our Shady Grove operations and Manlift business have failed to meet our expectations for improvement. We are reviewing our strategic alternatives regarding Manlift."

Grove announced in August that it would stop its Manlift, or aerial work platform production, in November for the rest of the year. The company reversed itself Friday when it said Manlift production would not be interrupted.

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