The Toro Company Reports Record Results for Fiscal 2012

For the fourth quarter, Toro reported net earnings of $0.3 million, on a net sales decrease of 7.8 percent to $339.3 million. In the comparable fiscal 2011 period, the company posted net earnings of $5 million, or $0.08 per share, on net sales of $368.1 million.

Earnings per share figures for all periods reported have been adjusted to reflect the company’s 2-for-1 stock split effective June 29, 2012.

“The Toro Company completed another record year with new highs for revenues and earnings per share,” said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and chief executive officer. “While pleased with our performance, it could have been even better if not for limited snowfall around the world that reduced snowthrower sales by almost 50 percent. Despite the weather challenge and a continued sluggish worldwide economy, Toro made tremendous progress in 2012. New products and good execution helped grow our positions in golf equipment, landscape contractor and grounds, micro irrigation and residential mowing. Our investments in acquisitions to enter new markets and expand capacity for micro irrigation, are contributing and will fuel growth into the future. And our efforts on productivity are starting to gain traction, as we delivered another significant step towards our Destination 2014 operating earnings goal of 12 percent by the end of fiscal 2014.”

“For the quarter, retail sales activity for many of our products were strong this fall, which helped get field inventories in good shape heading into the upcoming season. The majority of the decline in sales for the quarter resulted from the lack of snowthrower shipments due to soft preseason demand. Other major product categories showed sales growth in the quarter, with positive momentum heading into the new fiscal year.”

“We are early in our fiscal 2013, and mindful of the challenging world-wide economic environment and, as always, acutely aware of the volatility of Mother Nature. Nonetheless, the outlook for our end markets appears promising. Golf rounds and revenues were up last year, housing and construction are showing signs of improvement, and the agriculture market continues to adopt more efficient methods of irrigation. While we hope for better weather for our business, that is out of our control. We will concentrate on those actions that have made us successful: developing innovative products, serving our customers, executing in the marketplace, and engaging our employees to improve profitability as we pursue our Destination 2014 goals of additional revenue growth and further operating earnings expansion.”

The company expects revenue growth for fiscal 2013 to be about 4 to 5 percent, and net earnings to be about $2.35 to $2.40 per share. For the first quarter, the company expects net earnings to be about $0.40 to $0.45 per share, positively impacted by anticipated accelerated purchases of diesel products in advance of the Tier 4 price change.

Gross margin for fiscal 2012 improved 60 basis points from last year to 34.4 percent. The majority of the margin expansion was due to realized price, coupled with productivity improvement, somewhat offset by higher materials costs. For the fourth quarter, gross margin was up 100 basis points to 33.3 percent.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expense as a percent of sales decreased 10 basis points to 23.9 percent for fiscal 2012. For the fourth quarter, SG&A expenses were down $0.8 million, but increased 230 basis points compared to last year’s fourth quarter to 32.1 percent, on lower sales volumes.

Operating earnings as a percent of sales improved 70 basis points to 10.5 percent for fiscal 2012. For the fourth quarter, operating earnings were 1.2 percent of sales compared to 2.5 percent last year.

Interest expense for fiscal 2012 was $16.9 million, down 0.4 percent compared to the fiscal 2011. For the fourth quarter, interest expense totaled $4.1 million, down 5.9 percent from the same period last year.

The effective tax rate for the fiscal year was 34 percent compared with 32.7 percent last year, primarily due to the expiration of the Federal Research and Engineering Tax Credit.

Accounts receivable at the end of the fiscal year totaled $147.4 million, down 0.5 percent from the prior year period. Net inventories were $251.1 million, up 12.6 percent from the end of fiscal 2011 due to planned inventory build of diesel products to meet anticipated customer demand as part of the Tier 4 transition. Trade payables were $124.8 million, up 5.7 percent compared with last year.

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Shares and per share data have been adjusted for all periods presented to reflect a two-for-one stock split effective June 29, 2012.

Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to net cash provided by operating activities: