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Acuity Brands (AYI) Tops Q3 Earnings Estimates, Margins Down

Acuity Brands, Inc. AYI reported third-quarter fiscal 2017 adjusted earnings of $2.03 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.92 by about 5.7%. Earnings were adjusted by excluding 13 cents of non-recurring items. In spite of achieving record third-quarter net sales and earnings, the company’s profits were adversely impacted by higher-than-normal supply chain costs, including increased quality expenses and inbound freight charges.

Without the above adjustment, the company reported adjusted diluted earnings of $2.15 per share, up 4.4% from $2.06 a year ago.

Sales

Net sales during the quarter were $891.6 million, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $881.4 million by 1.2%. The reported figure also increased 5% year over year.

The upside was mainly attributable to a 6% increase in volume, partly offset by a net unfavorable change in product prices and mix of products sold (price/mix) of approximately 1%. Sales volume improved across most key product categories and sales channels.
 
Operating Highlights

Adjusted gross profit margin was 42.5% in the third quarter, reflecting a decrease of 200 basis points (bps) year over year owing to higher-than-normal supply chain costs, including increased inbound freight costs and quality costs, and unfavorable price/mix.

Adjusted operating margin was 16.6%, down 60 bps year over year.

Adjusted selling, distribution and administrative expenses were $230.6 million or 25.9% of quarterly net sales, compared with $232.7 million or 27.3% a year ago. This was primarily due to lower incentive compensation expenses.

Financials

Cash and cash equivalents, as of May 31, 2017, were $189.7 million, compared with $413.2 million in fiscal 2016.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $179.3 million in the first nine months of fiscal 2017, down 26.5% from $243.9 million a year ago.

Notably, Acuity Brands completed the buyback of 2 million shares under its previously authorized stock repurchase program at a total cost of $357.9 million.

The company expects the North American lighting market to return to growth in fiscal 2018. It also expects to continue to outperform market growth rates by executing strategies focused on opportunities for new construction and renovation projects, expansion into underpenetrated geographies and channels, and continued introduction of lighting and building management.

Acuity Brands Inc Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Zacks Rank

Acuity Brands currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Upcoming Releases in the Construction Sector

PulteGroup, Inc. PHM is slated to release its second-quarter 2017 earnings on Jul 25. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter’s earnings is 45 cents per share.

DR Horton Inc. DHI is slated to report its third-quarter fiscal 2017 results on Jul 26. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter’s earnings is pegged at 75 cents per share.

Masco Corporation MAS will release its second-quarter 2017 earnings on Jul 27. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter’s earnings is pegged at 60 cents per share.

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