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Astec (ASTE) Beats Q1 Earnings Estimates, Revenues Miss

Astec Industries Inc. ASTE posted earnings of 77 cents per share in the first quarter of 2016 which marked an increase of around 18.5% from 65 cents reported a year ago. Earnings also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 73 cents.

Despite headwinds posed by lower oil and natural gas prices, the global mining slowdown and the strong U.S. dollar, the company was able to secure and ship orders, mainly due to the passage of the federal highway bill in the U.S.

 

 

The maker of building, paving and mining equipment posted total revenue of $278.7 million, down 3.5% from $288.7 million reported in the year-ago quarter. Revenues missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $309.4 million. The year-over-year decline was due to weak sales in the Aggregate and Mining Group and Energy Group. .

Astec’s domestic sales increased 11% year over year to $234 million. However, international sales slumped 42.7% year over year to $44.5 million.

Operational Update

Cost of sales declined 7% year over year to $206.8 million. Gross profit of $72 million increased from $66 million reported in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin contracted 300 basis points (bps) year over year to 25.8%.

Selling, general, administrative and engineering expenses remained flat year over year at $43.8 million. Income from operations plunged around 26.6% year over year to $28.2 million. Operating margin contracted 240 bps year over year to 10.1%.

Segment Performance

Revenues for the Infrastructure Group segment increased 13.4% to $153 million from $135 million in the year-ago quarter. Segment profit improved 41% year over year to $21.9 million.

Total revenue for the Aggregate and Mining Group segment went down 13% year over year to $92.5 million. Profit tumbled 17.7% year over year to $11.6 million.

The Energy Group segment’s total revenue declined 30% to $33 million from $47.3 million in first-quarter 2015. The segment reported a loss of $0.19 million as against a profit of $0.16 million in the year-ago quarter.

Financial Position

Astec reported cash and cash equivalents of $62.4 million at the end of first-quarter 2016, up from $12.5 million at the end of first-quarter 2015. Receivables decreased to $119.4 million as of Mar 31, 2016, from $129.9 million as of Mar 31, 2015. Inventories went up to $389.5 million as of Mar 31, 2016, from $388.7 million as of Mar 31, 2015. The company had no debt.

Astec’s total backlog surged 48.7% to a record $432.8 million during the first quarter of 2016 from $291 million in the year-ago quarter. Domestic backlog went up 90% year over year to $382.5 million as of Mar 31, 2016, whereas international backlog slumped 44% year over year to $50.3 million at the end of the quarter.

Outlook

Astec stated that revenue outlook for the balance of 2016 remains up 5% versus last year with expectations of improved bottom-line performance. Orders have been strong in the infrastructure group since early December last year, mainly due to the highway bill and the pellet plant, which will aid the company’s performance.

While Astec’s infrastructure group is performing well, it remains cautious with respect to its outlook for the Aggregate and Mining Group and Energy Group. The company continues to see growth opportunities for aftermarket parts and service, and remains committed to improve parts sales volume in the long term, along with working toward increasing competitive parts’ sales.

However, orders are not strong internationally, mainly due to headwinds from the strong U.S. dollar, the mining slowdown and low oil prices. These factors will continue to hurt the company’s growth.

Zacks Rank

Astec currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Some better-ranked stocks in the industrial products sector include ACCO Brands Corporation ACCO, Altra Industrial Motion Corp. AIMC and Alarm.Com Holdings, Inc. ALRM. All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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