Weakening demand for commercial vehicles has hit Man Group’s 2008 results, with order intake down 21 per cent on last year.

The Munich-based transport group said that its commercial vehicles division fell sharply in the second half of the year, affecting full-year performance.

Diesel Engines recorded an 8 per cent drop in order intake, largely as a result of a fall in demand for marine diesel engines. Orders at Turbo Machinery fell by 2 per cent, with the order backlog for the whole group down to €10.4bn (£9.2bn) from €12.3bn the previous year.

The group’s full-year operating profits were up 11 per cent at €1.7bn and revenue was lifted by 6 per cent in 2008 to €14.9bn. However, the order backlog for the group decreased to €10.4bn from €12.3bn in 2007, signalling difficult times ahead.

The company has not ruled out job cuts and plans to roll out a strategic cost-cutting programme throughout its operations. The group said that its outlook for 2009 remains unclear, but overall it expects a lower order intake and reduced revenue.

Looking ahead, Håkan Samuelsson, chief executive, said: ‘Man will systematically drive forward its long-term strategy. We will achieve another milestone in this strategy by acquiring Volkswagen's commercial vehicles arm in Latin America.

‘In addition to the commercial vehicles business, mechanical engineering represents a stabilising and balancing element of our activities. As a company with low financial debt and strong capital resources, Man is well prepared for difficult times,’ he added.