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WESCO (WCC) Q1 Earnings & Revenues Beat, Decline Y/Y

Shares of WESCO International Inc. WCC gained over 2% in after-hour trade following better-than-expected results in the first quarter of 2016.

WESCO’s first quarter results beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate on both revenue and earnings.

Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of 77 cents beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.5% or 4 cents. Earnings, however, plunged 28.4% sequentially and 17.8% year over year.

Revenues of $1.78 billion beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.75 billion by a slight margin.

Sales were low as a result of weak commodity-driven end markets and foreign exchange headwinds. However, the impact of lower sales on earnings were mitigated to a certain extent by the ongoing organizational streamlining and cost reduction activities.

The quarterly numbers in detail:

Revenues

WESCO reported revenues of $1.78 billion, down 4.6% sequentially and 2.2% year over year.

Organic sales were down 7% year over year due to a 6% sales decline in the U.S. and an 11% drop in Canada.

End Market Update

WESCO stated that sales from the Industrial end market were down 14% year over year. The decline was due to weak oil and gas, metals and mining, and OEM. Sales were down 14% in the U.S. and 21% in Canada.

The manufacturing sector is reeling under the impact of weak demand, dismal global commodity prices and a strong U.S. dollar. Direct oil and gas sales were down 25% year over year.

The Construction market declined 4% year over year with US and Canada down 4% and 6%, respectively. The company witnessed weakness in sales to contractors serving industrial markets in the U.S. and Canada. However, sales to commercial construction contractors were much better.

Outside the industrial and construction markets, the company remains positive about the non-residential construction market. The acquisition of Atlanta Electrical Distributors (AED) last month and Hill Country and Needham Electric in 2015 have opened up opportunities for growth in this market. The company was recently given a contract to supply and install materials for a new medical center under construction in Ecuador.

Sales into the Utilities market witnessed slight growth. We note that this market had witnessed sales growth for five consecutive years through 2015. Both investor-owned utilities and utility contractors in the U.S. grew in the last quarter, partially offset by a 5% decline in Canada (on a local currency basis).

The renewable energy market stayed strong and provided good growth opportunities. In the quarter, WESCO was given a contract by a large energy developer to provide high-voltage materials for a wind farm substation.

Sales in the CIG market were flat year over year. U.S. grew 2% while Canada declined 10%. Higher spending by the U.S. government was offset by weakness in Canada.

WESCO sees growth opportunities in data center construction and retrofits, as well as cloud technology projects. Recently, the company was given a contract by a large national telecommunications provider to supply fiber-optic materials to multiple locations.

Margins

Gross profit was $355.2 million, or 20% of sales, compared with $363.5 million, or 19.5% in the prior quarter and $367.7 million, or 20.2%, a year ago.

Gross margin was up 47 basis points (bps) from the prior quarter but down 24 bps from the year-ago period.

Operating profit of $69.5 million (or 3.9% of sales) was lower than $90.0 million (4.8%) in the previous quarter and $87.2 million (4.8%) a year ago.

WESCO’s net income was $36.0 million (or a net margin of 2.0%), down from $48.4 million (2.6%) in the previous quarter and $47.0 million (2.6%) in the first quarter of 2015.

Balance Sheet

Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the first quarter was $147.8 million compared with $160.3 million at the end of the prior quarter. Long-term debt was $1.39 billion compared with $1.44 billion in the previous quarter.

Free cash flow stayed strong and surpassed 200% of net income.

Guidance

The company expects second quarter sales to be down 1%–3%. Operating margin is expected within 4.5% to 4.9%, with an effective tax rate of approximately 30%.

For 2016, the company predicts sales in the range of flat to down 5%, and EPS in the $3.75 to $4.20 range. The company estimates free cash flow to be roughly 90% of net income.

Conclusion

WESCO reported decent first quarter results with earnings and revenues surpassing the respective Zacks Consensus Estimate. 

The company continued to implements its One WESCO strategy to boost sales, enhance profitability, generate strong cash flow and enhance shareholder’s value.

WESCO emphasizes on providing a comprehensive portfolio of products and services to meet OEM, MRO and capital project management requirements of customers.

Management is hopeful about continued acquisitions and product and service expansions, leveraging its strong free cash flow generation capacity.

WESCO anticipates weak demand from builders, manufacturers and other industrial customers this year. The company also stated that profits would remain under pressure throughout 2016 due to foreign exchange headwinds.

Acquisitions remained an important part of WESCO’s growth strategy. This quarter, the acquisition of AED helped the company to generate strong free cash flow. Moreover, the company will augment its existing product lines and expand globally, thereby improving its overall market position. Additionally, its cost streamlining initiative will likely boost margins.

Currently, WESCO has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Stocks to Consider

Investors can consider stocks like Anixter International Inc. AXE, Travelport Worldwide Limited Inc. TVPT and Silicon Motion Technology Corp. SIMO. Each of these stocks carries a Zacks Rank # 1 (Strong Buy).

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