ManitowocUSA: Manitowoc is to separate its foodservice and cranes businesses under pressure from activist investors.

The Manitowoc board has approved a plan to spin-off the two businesses into two independent, publicly-traded companies, expecting to complete the process in the first quarter of 2016.

“Manitowoc’s management team and our board of directors regularly evaluate and explore opportunities to optimise the Company’s performance and create value for shareholders,” commented Glen E Tellock, chairman and chief executive officer. “We believe the separation of Cranes and Foodservice will position these businesses to take advantage of anticipated long-term improvement in demand and other opportunities in their respective markets.”

Tellock continued, “Over the past several years, we have transformed Manitowoc and worked to build two strong business platforms within one enterprise, and each business enjoys global leadership and is positioned for sustainable growth and value creation. After a comprehensive evaluation, including a thorough review of the current and projected operating environments for the two segments, we have determined that the Cranes and Foodservice businesses are best-suited to realize their full potential on a standalone basis.”

The foodservice business, which reported an annual revenue of $1.6bn in 2014, manufactures a range of equipment including ice-makers and commercial refrigeration equipment for restaurants, convenience stores, hotels, hospitals, and other institutions.