Oshkosh Truck Corporation announced today that its second quarter and full year sales and earnings will be lower than previous estimates.

The company expects to report earnings per share for the second quarter in the range of $US0.65 to $US0.70, compared to $0.70 a year ago. Reported earnings in the second quarter are expected to benefit from the settlement of certain tax audits.

Based on lower second quarter performance and the existing business climate, Oshkosh Truck currently expects its annual earnings per share to fall in the $US2.80 to $US3.00 range, compared to the $US3.45 previous estimate.

Slowing sales in the company's commercial segment, largely attributed to a progressive softening in the North American concrete placement market, is the main factor affecting second-quarter results.

Oshkosh Truck's concrete placement orders started strong in January but have progressively deteriorated since then.

"We're seeing the effects of a substantial slowing of the U.S. economy in ready-mix producers' cautious approach to capital spending, including the purchase of new concrete mixer trucks, said Oshkosh chairman, president and chief executive officer Robert Bohn.

"Ready-mix producers are pouring concrete at levels near those witnessed in 2000, but this has not translated into concrete placement orders as directly as we had originally predicted.''

Bohn added that Oshkosh anticipated demand in defence and fire and emergency businesses to remain strong, and for refuse sales to improve in the third and fourth quarters, particularly in light of current negotiations with Waste Management.

During the second quarter, Oshkosh moved to strengthen the company's long-term aftermarket parts sales in the concrete placement market by purchasing inventory and certain assets from Temco.

Temco has stopped production of concrete mixers, batch plants and concrete mixer parts, except as required by current customer contracts.

The purchase allows Oshkosh to provide improved parts support for more than 13,000 mixers, sold by Temco and others, which are currently in use.

Oshkosh will release second quarter results on April 26.