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LB Foster (FSTR) Posts Wider-than-Expected Loss in Q1

Premium railroads company LB Foster Co. FSTR reported first-quarter 2016 diluted loss of 28 cents per share, substantially wider than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 8 cents.

Headwinds associated with existing commodity cycle, lower North American freight rail market spending, weaker-than-expected investments in civil construction and highway projects along with existing challenges in the niche business hubs hurt the company’s top-line and bottom-line results.  

The company had reported diluted earnings of 41 cents per share in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues

Total sales for the quarter declined 8.4% year over year to $126.3 million. The top line also lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $129 million.

Revenues from the Rail Products and Services segment decreased 17.2% year over year to $64.3 million. The underperformance stemmed from weaker sales across all rail divisions, Union Pacific Railroad in particular.

Construction Products revenues decreased 7% year over year to $31.9 million. The year-over-year decline is attributable to lower sales in the company’s product lines.

The Tubular and Energy Services segment generated revenues of $30.1 million, up 16.2% year over year. The improvement was supported stronger coated products, test & inspection services and precision measurement systems sales.

Costs/Margins

Adjusted gross profit margin in the quarter was 19%, down 320 basis points (bps) year over year.

Selling and administrative expenses totaled $22.8 million, marginally higher than $22.3 million in the year-ago quarter.

The Rail Products and Services segment recorded an adjusted gross profit margin of 21.7%, down 170 bps year over year, due to weaker sales volumes.

Construction Products segment’s gross profit margin decreased 160 bps year over year to 17.5%, due to lower margins from the company’s precast concrete products’ business.

Gross profit margin of the Tubular and Energy Services segment was 15.2%, down 810 bps year over year, owing to lower margins from the test and inspection services’ business.

Balance Sheet/Cash Flow

LB Foster exited the first quarter with cash and cash equivalents of approximately $30.9 million, down from $33.3 million at year-end 2015. Long-term debt was $173.6 million as against $167.4 million as of Dec 31, 2015.

At the end of the quarter, L.B. Foster used cash worth $5.1 million from operating activities compared with $7.4 million cash used in the year-ago comparable period.

Outlook

Going forward, LB Foster aims to improve its profitability via a new restructuring plan. The company is also streamlining its existing cost structure for adjusted niche market business challenges and lower volumes. In addition, the company would reduce expenses that are not related to association of new businesses or cost reduction. Previously, the company estimated full-year 2016 sales within the $610–$640 million range and diluted earnings within the range of $1.00–$1.40 per share.

Zacks Rank and Stocks to Consider

L.B. Foster currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the industry include ArcelorMittal MT, POSCO PKX and Universal Stainless & Alloy Products Inc. USAP. All the three stocks presently hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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POSCO-ADR (PKX): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
ARCELOR MITTAL (MT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
FOSTER LB CO (FSTR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
UNVL STAINLESS (USAP): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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