Robert C. Arzbaecher, Chairman and CEO of Actuant commented, “Actuant’s first quarter results reflect our customers’ cautious approaches to spending and managing inventory levels in light of economic uncertainty. Despite the benefit of prior year acquisitions and continued core growth in both the Industrial and Energy segments, overall revenue declined. This was primarily the result of significant customer production declines across various OEM markets such as heavy-duty truck and off-highway equipment to reduce inventories, as well as weak solar sales in the Electrical segment. During the past ninety days, we initiated both temporary and structural cost reduction actions to allow us to continue to invest in long-term growth while protecting earnings in the current weak environment.”
Consolidated sales for the first quarter were $377 million, 4% lower than the $393 million in the comparable prior year quarter. Core sales declined 7%; the weaker Euro reduced sales 1% while acquisitions contributed 4% to total sales. Fiscal 2013 first quarter net earnings and EPS were $36.3 million, or $0.49 per share, compared to $37.2 million and $0.50, respectively, in the comparable prior year quarter.
First quarter fiscal 2013 Industrial segment sales were $101 million, 1% higher than the prior year. Excluding the 1% negative impact of foreign currency rate changes, core sales increased 2% driven by higher global Integrated Solutions activity and steady industrial demand in most regions outside of Western Europe. First quarter operating profit margin of 26.7% was in line with expectations as the benefit of higher volumes was more than offset by unfavorable mix and incremental Growth + Innovation (G+I) investments.
Fiscal 2013 first quarter year-over-year Energy segment sales increased 13% to $91 million. Excluding the 9% impact from acquisitions, core sales increased 4% from the prior year’s strong levels. Hydratight experienced double digit core sales growth on the strength of continued robust maintenance spending in oil & gas, power generation, and other energy markets. Cortland core sales were down from the prior year, but are expected to rebound given the high order intake in the first quarter. Quoting activity and relatively stable energy prices continue to support demand across the Energy segment’s served markets. First quarter operating profit margin increased 60 basis points from the prior year due primarily to favorable mix and volume leverage.
Electrical segment fiscal 2013 first quarter sales were $69 million, 16% lower than the comparable prior year quarter. The 16% core sales decrease reflected significantly lower solar inverter shipments compared to the prior year due to the combination of weak current year demand and aggressive sales promotions in the prior year. In addition, the impact of channel inventory reductions across the segment’s served North American markets, and lower industrial transformer demand contributed to the sales decline. First quarter operating profit margin increased 530 basis points from the prior year due to the benefit of prior year restructuring actions, as well as a fire related insurance recovery at Mastervolt.
Three Months Ended
First quarter fiscal 2013 Engineered Solutions segment sales decreased 10% from the prior year to $116 million. Excluding the 8% impact from acquisitions and negative 1% impact from the weaker Euro, core sales declined 17%. First quarter sales reflect significantly lower OEM production levels for heavy-duty trucks, off-highway equipment and convertible autos, in part to reduce inventory levels. Demand in the global agriculture market moderated, partially reflecting the US drought impact on aftermarket sales. First quarter operating profit margin declined due to the lower volumes and restructuring actions taken in the segment.
Corporate expenses for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 were $6.5 million, $1.3 million below the comparable prior year period due primarily to lower incentive compensation. The effective income tax rate for the quarter was lower than the prior year due to the execution of certain tax reduction initiatives.
Net debt at November 30, 2012 was $328 million (total debt of $396 million less $68 million of cash), essentially unchanged from fiscal year end. Actuant’s first quarter cash flow was impacted by the payment of fiscal 2012 incentive compensation and 401(k) company contributions, as well as an increase in primary working capital. Additionally, the Company deployed approximately $7 million for the repurchase of 0.3 million shares of common stock. At November 30, 2012, the Company had a net debt to EBITDA leverage ratio of 1.2, and its entire $600 million revolver available.
Arzbaecher continued, “The economic picture remains cloudy as we start the second quarter of fiscal 2013. Our customers remain cautious with ordering patterns, and most OEMs are continuing to reduce inventory by ordering at a slower pace than their end market sell-through levels. Although these conditions make organic growth more challenging in the near-term, we remain focused on investing for long-term growth through both G+I and acquisitions, as well as managing our costs and maintaining a strong balance sheet.
While we are seeing indications that market conditions are firming up in some areas, volatility and uncertainty also persist. At this point, our full year EPS guidance remains unchanged, yet we believe that the probability of attaining the high end of the range is low if current economic conditions and uncertainty continue. We expect fiscal 2013 sales to be approximately $1.600-1.625 billion, with core sales for the year down 1-3%.
We expect second quarter fiscal 2013 sales in the $360-370 million range and EPS of $0.34-0.38. The second quarter historically represents the seasonally weakest quarter of the fiscal year, and we expect to see the continued impact of economic uncertainty including customer inventory reductions, most notably in the Engineered Solutions segment. However, we are forecasting year-over-year sales growth in both the Industrial and Energy segments.
Consistent with our normal practice, the guidance excludes the impact of any future acquisitions and share repurchases. With our projected $200 million of fiscal 2013 free cash flow and strong capital structure, we are well positioned financially to fund both growth investments and opportunistic share buy-backs.
In summary, we continue to expect a challenging first half of fiscal 2013, followed by modest growth in the second half of the year. We remain confident in the fundamental strength of the Actuant businesses, have the right long-term growth strategies in place, and the operating experience to manage through the current environment.”
Certain of the above comments represent forward-looking statements made pursuant to the provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Management cautions that these statements are based on current estimates of future performance and are highly dependent upon a variety of factors, which could cause actual results to differ from these estimates. Actuant’s results are also subject to general economic conditions, variation in demand from customers, the impact of geopolitical activity on the economy, continued market acceptance of the Company’s new product introductions, the successful integration of acquisitions, restructuring, operating margin risk due to competitive pricing and operating efficiencies, supply chain risk, material and labor cost increases, foreign currency fluctuations and interest rate risk. See the Company’s Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission for further information regarding risk factors. Actuant disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of new information, future events or any other reason.