Fourth quarter fiscal 2010 total revenues of $87.2 million increased 19 percent from $73.4 million in the same prior year period. Net earnings were $6.0 million or $0.48 per diluted share compared with $2.1 million or $0.17 per diluted share, in the prior fiscal year’s fourth quarter.
Total irrigation equipment revenues increased 4 percent to $57.2 million from $54.8 million in the prior fiscal year’s fourth quarter. Domestic irrigation revenues of $33.9 million increased 16 percent, while international irrigation revenues of $23.3 million decreased 9 percent as compared to the same prior year period on lower export revenues. Infrastructure revenues increased 61 percent to $30.0 million primarily due to increased sales of Quick-Change Moveable Barrier (QMB) product.
Gross margin was 29.5 percent compared to 24.0 percent in the prior year’s fourth quarter. Infrastructure margins were higher primarily due to increased revenues of higher margin QMB product. Irrigation margins increased from improved factory efficiencies at our Lindsay, Nebraska facility compared to the same period last year.
Operating expenses increased $1.9 million to $16.0 million compared to the fourth quarter of the prior fiscal year. The increase is primarily due to higher research and development expenses, commissions, and incentive compensation costs. Operating expenses were 18.3 percent of sales in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with 19.2 percent of sales in the prior year period. Operating income of $9.7 million increased $6.2 million compared to the prior year period.
Cash and cash equivalents of $83.4 million were $2.5 million lower compared with last year, while debt decreased $12.8 million over the same period. During the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, the company acquired the primary supplier of technology products and controls used in the company’s irrigation systems.
Lindsay’s backlog of unshipped orders at August 31, 2010 was $38.4 million compared with $43.6 million at August 31, 2009 and $33.9 million at May 31, 2010. Included in the August 31, 2010 backlog is a $14.8 million project for our QMB system which we expect to ship in the first half of fiscal 2011. The August 31, 2009 backlog included $19.6 million for the Mexico City QMB project completed in the first half of fiscal 2010.
Total revenues for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2010 were $358.4 million, a 7 percent increase from $336.2 million for the prior year. Total irrigation equipment revenues of $258.6 million increased 1 percent from a year ago, while infrastructure revenues increased 24 percent to $99.8 million. The Company’s operating income for the fiscal year was $37.8 million compared to $22.4 million during the prior year period. Net earnings were $24.9 million or $1.98 per diluted share, as compared to $13.8 million, or $1.11 per diluted share for the prior year period.
Gross margin was 27.6 percent compared to 24.0 percent for the year ended August 31, 2009. Gross margin on irrigation products was favorably impacted by regional mix and improved factory efficiencies at our Lindsay, Nebraska facility. Gross margin on infrastructure products improved due to increased sales of higher margin QMB product. The Company’s operating expenses of $61.1 million increased $2.8 million as compared to fiscal 2009. The increase in operating expenses for fiscal 2010 was primarily attributable to higher research and development costs along with incentive compensation due to improved results.
On July 20, 2010, Lindsay announced that it had increased its regular quarterly cash dividend by 6 percent to $0.085 per share from $0.08 per share. The new annual indicated rate is $0.34 per share, an increase from the previous annual indicated rate of $0.32 per share.
Rick Parod, president and chief executive officer, commented, “Strong results from our infrastructure segment, along with solid domestic irrigation performance, drove improved fourth quarter results. In the infrastructure segment we have experienced strong interest in our QMB systems which provide a cost effective method for safely managing traffic congestion. In general, the infrastructure outlook remains uncertain with a multi-year highway bill not expected until sometime next year; however global interest remains strong for our QMB systems.”
Parod continued, “In the irrigation markets farmer sentiment has improved with higher commodity prices and updated USDA estimates showing net farm income for 2010 as the fourth highest on record. Although the decision on equipment purchases for next season is a few months away for our primary irrigation markets, we expect higher equipment demand if commodity prices remain strong. I’m also very pleased with the acquisition of Digitec, the irrigation technology company acquired at the end of the quarter. I believe this acquisition will further strengthen our capability in providing strong solutions to our irrigation and transportation-safety customers.”
Parod added, “Growth drivers of expanded food production, efficient water use and improvements in transportation infrastructure remain very positive for our business, long-term.”
Lindsay manufactures and markets irrigation equipment primarily used in agricultural markets which increase or stabilize crop production while conserving water, energy, and labor. The Company also manufactures and markets infrastructure and road safety products through its wholly owned subsidiaries, Barrier Systems Inc. and Snoline S.P.A. At August 31, 2010, Lindsay had approximately 12.5 million shares outstanding, which are traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LNN.