Actuant reports 1Q results

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Actuant Corp. announced results for its first quarter, which ended Nov. 30.

Total sales declined 4 percent, compared with the prior year, with acquisitions contributing 4 percent, the weaker euro a 1 percent headwind and core sales down 7 percent, the company announced.

Diluted earnings were 49 cents a share, a 2 percent reduction from the prior year’s quarter.

Operating profit margins were 13.6 percent, a 100-basis point reduction from the prior year primarily because of the impact of lower volumes, most notably in the Engineered Solutions segment.

The company is reducing its 2013 full-year sales guidance to $1.6 billion to $1.625 billion and now expects full-year core sales to be down between 1 and 3 percent, compared with the earlier guidance of 3 to 5 percent positive, with the back half up and the first half down, CEO Robert C. Arzbaecher said.

Because of that projection the company is planning for a “flattish” 2013 calendar year, Arzbaecher said.

“We're pretty optimistic that we've seen a big chunk of this,” Arzbaecher said during an earnings call with investors and analysts. “There'll be some more carryover into the second quarter, and then things will moderate and we'll be back to production equals sales. And that's what we didn't see this quarter.”

“Actuant’s first-quarter results reflect our customers’ cautious approaches to spending and managing inventory levels in light of economic uncertainty,” he said in a statement.

“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 90 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 percent lower than the $393 million in the comparable prior-year quarter. Core sales declined 7 percent; the weaker euro reduced sales 1 percent and acquisitions contributed 4 percent to total sales.

First-quarter net earnings were $36.3 million, or 49 cents a share, compared with $37.2 million and 50 cents a share, respectively, in the comparable prior-year quarter.

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