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Valmont's (VMI) Q1 Earnings Beat, Currency Hits Sales

Valmont Industries, Inc. VMI reported adjusted net earnings of roughly $33.9 million or $1.49 per share for the first quarter of 2016. Earnings per share improved 16% year over year and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.26 by 18.25%.

Earnings, as reported, were $1.45 per share, up 13% from $1.28 per share recorded a year ago. The bottom line was driven by the company’s restructuring, productivity improvement and cost-saving measures.

Net sales for the quarter were reported at $596.6 million, down 11% from the prior-year figure. The top line also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $629.9 million by 5.28%. With steel costs remaining low, negative currency translations and low volume led to the drop in net sales. Synergies from past acquisitions and restructuring helped the company to deliver improved profitability despite the challenging external industry environment.

Valmont’s shares jumped 12% to close at $139.25 last Thursday, reflecting the handy earnings beat.

Segment Review

Broadly, the Omaha, NE-based company classifies its business segments as infrastructure- and agriculture-related. 

Infrastructure-Related:

Engineered Support Structures: The segment’s sales of $177 million for the reported quarter were consistent with the prior-year period. Negative currency translation reduced sales by $5.6 million. Restructuring and focus on reducing costs improved operating profits by almost 50% to $14.2 million. Sales in Asia-Pacific rose, but were offset by a large decrease in Europe.

Utility Support Structure: Sales declined 18% year over year to $144.5 million, hurt by lower volumes and reduced selling prices. Operating income fell roughly 4% year over year to $14.8 million.

Coatings Segment: This segment saw net sales of $68.6 million, 8% lower than the first quarter of 2015. However, operating income grew 4% to $11.4 million, backed by restructuring as well as lower natural gas and zinc costs. All regions except Asia-Pacific, in which sales declined, saw consistent sales. Overall sales were lower partly due to negative currency translations.

Energy and Mining: This segment was drastically impacted by low oil and energy prices. Net sales declined 18% to $72.5 million. Even operating income fell 56% to $1.9 million. The segment had undergone restructuring in 2015 which partly offset the adverse impact of the weak market environment.

Agriculture-Related

Irrigation: The segment reported net sales of $158.5 million, down 9% primarily due to lower demand for irrigation equipment in North America. Eastern Europe and Middle East, with diverse irrigation markets, benefited from higher project activity. However, sales in the rest of the world declined. Operating income was $28.8 million, down nearly 5% year over year, affected by a soft tubing market.

Financial Position

Valmont ended the quarter with a cash balance of $388 million, up roughly 22% year over year. Free cash flow during the quarter was $66.5 million. Long-term debt at the end of the quarter was $757 million, down 1.2% year over year.

The company repurchased 154,000 shares worth $17 million. The authorized buyback program still has a balance of $169 million.

Outlook

Valmont places strong emphasis on the need for infrastructure in the world. The current external environment continues to be challenging for the company, but management intends to control internal measures to improve profitability. Past restructuring has already started yielding results and the revenue for the balance of 2016 is expected to be more in line with 2015.

The company maintains its 2016 outlook for EPS which is expected to be 12–15% higher than the adjusted EPS of 2015.

Zacks Rank

Valmont currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other well-ranked stocks in the sector include Mueller Water Products, Inc. MWA, POSCO PKX and Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc. USAP, all of which carry a Zacks Rank #2.

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VALMONT INDS (VMI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
MUELLER WATER (MWA): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
POSCO-ADR (PKX): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
UNVL STAINLESS (USAP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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