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Actuant reports 2Q results

Actuant Corp. reported second-quarter sales and earnings at the high end of its guidance ranges. Despite beating estimates, a 12 percent drop in fiscal second-quarter earnings prompted the company to lower its projections for the year.

Wisconsin-based Actuant said Wednesday that total sales were $370 million for the quarter that ended Feb. 28, down 2 percent year-over-year, with acquisitions contributing 4 percent and core sales declining 6 percent. Second-quarter earnings were $28.4 million, or 38 cents a diluted share, compared with $32.2 million, or 43 cents a share, for the same period a year earlier.

Operating profit margins were 11.3 percent, a 180-basis point reduction from the prior year, primarily because of the impact of lower sales and production levels.

The company revised full-year sales and EPS guidance to $1.575 billion to $1.6 billion and $2.15 to $2.25, respectively.

“We delivered results for the second quarter at the high end of our sales and EPS guidance,” Actuant CEO Bob Arzbaecher said in a statement. “During the normally seasonally weak quarter, we experienced generally subdued activity in the global industrial markets, reflecting both cautious spending and continued de-stocking initiatives by OEM customers. While economic conditions remain weak in most end markets and regions, we have kept our organization agile and are anticipating both seasonal and core growth in the second half of the fiscal year. I want to thank our global team for their solid execution in the quarter.”

Actuant expects third-quarter sales to be in the range of $410 million to 420 million. EPS is expected to be in the range of 63 to 68 cents, compared with 60 cents in the prior year, with continued cost-reduction actions and a lower than full-year average income tax rate incorporated into the guidance.

“When we initially provided our fiscal 2013 guidance, we expected that our first-half results would be lower than the prior year, with growth resuming in the back half. Now, at the midpoint of the year, we believe we are at this inflection point with the most difficult comparisons behind us,” Arzbaecher said. “We are seeing indications that market conditions have bottomed and are firming up in some areas, yet inconsistency and uncertainty also persist. As a result, we expect the demand improvement curve to be less steep and modestly pushed out further in calendar 2013, compared to our original expectations.”

Actuant remains “focused on investing for long-term growth” through growth and innovation as well as acquisitions while managing costs to drive full-year earnings improvement, Arzbaecher said.

Actuant’s 52-week stock high is $32.11 a share and its 52-week low is $24.23. It opened Wednesday at $31.51 and closed at $31.13.

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