Donaldson reports record fourth quarter earnings

Donaldson reports record net income and earnings per share in the fourth quarter of 2013 despite overall sales being down compared to last year's fourth quarter sales.

Donaldson Company Inc. announces its financial results for its fiscal 2013 fourth quarter. 

"While global economic conditions in many of our end markets remained challenging, we delivered record fourth quarter net income and earnings per share," says Bill Cook, Donaldson's CEO. "Our overall sales were down from the fourth quarter of last year primarily due to our Engine Products OEM businesses in the U.S. and Asia and our Industrial Products businesses. However, we also had a number of businesses and regions that saw year-over-year increases. Our Engine Aftermarket sales increased 3% from last year and have now grown sequentially for the second straight quarter. Regionally, we achieved strong local currency sales growth in Latin America, India, and our European Engine business in the quarter.

"Despite our lower overall sales, we delivered higher operating income with a record operating margin of 15.8%. Over the last year, we have worked to align our manufacturing and operating expenses with current customer demand while generating significant savings from our ongoing Continuous Improvement initiatives. During the quarter, we also incurred restructuring charges of $1.2 million as part of these alignment efforts. Due to our strong operating margin performance, we delivered record net income and EPS in the fourth quarter.

"Looking forward, we believe that many of our end markets have now stabilized and will begin to grow moderately during the second half of our FY14. Overall, we are expecting our full year sales to increase percentage-wise in the low- to mid-single digits in FY14. We plan to maintain our operating focus on our Continuous Improvement initiatives. We will continue to invest in our Strategic Business Systems project during FY14. Our overall growth outlook and operational performance is anticipated to deliver FY14 EPS of between $1.65 and $1.85 per share."

Financial Statement Discussion

The impact of foreign currency translation decreased sales by $3.5 million, or 0.5%, during the quarter and decreased sales by $32.2 million, or 1.3%, for the year. The impact of foreign currency translation decreased reported net earnings by $0.3 million, or 0.4%, during the quarter and decreased reported net earnings by $2.1 million, or 0.8%, for the year.

Gross margin was 36.1% for the quarter and 34.8% for the year, compared to prior year margins of 35.0% for both the quarter and the year. The improvement in the quarter is primarily attributable to a higher percentage of our sales coming from replacement filters and the benefits from our Continuous Improvement initiatives. Restructuring expenses included in gross margin were $0.3 million in the quarter and $1.6 million for the year.

Operating expenses for the quarter were $128.3 million, down 1.5% from last year. As a percent of sales, operating expenses were 20.3% compared to last year's 19.8%. For the year, operating expenses were $503.8 million, or 20.7% of sales, compared to $510.7 million, or 20.5% of sales, last year. Restructuring expenses included in operating expenses were $0.9 million and $2.4 million for the quarter and the year, respectively. Our ongoing cost containment actions and lower incentive compensation have helped to offset the restructuring expenses, higher pension expenses, and the incremental expenses related to our Strategic Business Systems project.
Our effective tax rate for the quarter was 28.2%, compared to a prior year rate of 30.7%. The decrease in the quarter was due to a change in the geographic mix of earnings compared to last year. For the year, the effective tax rate was 29.0% compared to a prior year rate of 28.7%.

As part of our ongoing share repurchase program we repurchased 1,166,000 shares, or 0.8% of our diluted shares outstanding, for $41.6 million during the quarter. For the year, we repurchased 2,987,000 shares, or 2.0% of our diluted shares outstanding, for $102.6 million.

FY14 Outlook

  • We project our company's sales to be between $2.45 and $2.55 billion, or an increase of 1 to 5%. Our forecast is based on the Euro at US$1.32 and 97 Yen to the US$.
  • Our full-year operating margin forecast is 14.1 to 14.9%. Included in this forecast is approximately $30 million in expense increases for our Strategic Business Systems project and incentive compensation.
  • Our FY14 tax rate is anticipated to be between 28 and 31%.
  • We forecast our full year FY14 EPS to be between $1.65 and $1.85.
  • Cash generated by operating activities is projected to be between $275 and $305 million. Our capital spending is estimated to be approximately $90 million. We anticipate repurchasing between 2 and 4% of our diluted outstanding shares in FY14.

Engine Products: We forecast FY14 sales to increase 1 to 7%, including the impact of foreign currency.

  • Our On-Road OEM Customers are planning to increase their builds of heavy- and medium-duty trucks in FY14, with build rates turning positive in our first fiscal quarter. Demand from our off-road OEM customers is anticipated to be mixed: build rates of agriculture equipment are forecasted to remain steady but the outlook is cautious, build rates of construction equipment are expected to slowly improve in North America but remain weak in Europe and China, and the build rates of mining equipment are expected to continue to remain at current low levels.
  • We are anticipating improving growth for our Aftermarket Products. Current utilization rates for off-road equipment and on-road heavy truck fleets in the field have stabilized and inventory levels at dealers and distributors are now consistent with current end user utilization rates in most markets. We should also benefit from our continued expansion into emerging economies, the increasing number of systems installed in the field with our innovative proprietary filters, and our increasing sales of liquid filtration products.
  • We forecast steady sales for our Aerospace and Defense Products compared to last year as the continued slowdown in U.S. military activity is expected to be offset by growth from our commercial aerospace sales.

Industrial Products: We forecast sales to be consistent with FY13, including the impact of foreign currency.

  • Our Industrial Filtration Solutions Products' sales are projected to increase 5 to 11%. We assume general manufacturing activity will continue to increase moderately in the Americas and has now stabilized in Europe and Asia with gradual improvement expected in both regions.
  • We anticipate our Gas Turbine Products' sales will decrease 18 to 24% from our record sales in FY13 due to the forecasted slowdown in large turbine power generation projects by our Customers in FY14.
  • Special Applications Products' sales are forecasted to increase 5 to 11% due to improved market demand for our membranes and venting products, partially offset by continued weakness in the disk drive filter market.