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PPG Industries' (PPG) Q1 Earnings Beat, Raises Dividend

PPG Industries PPG reported adjusted net income of $351 million, or $1.31 per share, for the first quarter of 2016. With an 11% improvement from the year-ago adjusted earnings of $1.18 a share, this is the thirteenth consecutive quarter in which the company has reported double-digit year over year increase in adjusted earnings per share. Adjusted earnings also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.30 by a penny.

The upside can be attributed to higher sales volumes, acquisition-related gains as well as cost management. Unfavorable currency translation impact moderated from the prior quarter but still  weighed on sales in the reported quarter.

The company recorded some non-recurring charges in the quarter. Net income including charges was $347 million or $1.29 per share. Net sales in the quarter were fairly consistent year over year at $3,672 million. In local currencies, sales rose 4%. Acquisitions contributed 3% to total sales. Sales volume grew 1% year over year, reflecting global demand to be relatively modest. Sales, however, lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,681 million.  

Segment Review

Performance Coatings:This segment recorded $2.04 billion sales and $279 million income. Sales at the segment fell less than 1% year over year. However, the same was up more than 3% in local currencies. Currency translation was responsible for about $85 million, or 4%, lower sales. Acquisition-related sales amounted to $25 million. Benefits from restructuring and emphasis on cost-management helped segment earnings to grow by 6%. Sales volume of agricultural coatings increased slightly while that of architectural coatings, protective and marine coatings remained relatively consistent. On the other hand, aerospace sales volume declined due to lower commercial demand.

Industrial Coatings: Sales for the segment came in at $1.37 billion, up 2% from the prior-year period and 6% in local currencies. Total sales volume grew over 1%, particularly due to expansion in Europe. New technology in packaging coatings drove sales volume by mid-high single digits in every region. Net income for the segment was $265 million, up 9% year over year. The improvement was largely due to lower costs by restructuring and manufacturing cost efficiencies.

Glass Segment: This segment performed the most unfavorably among all segments. Sales were down 2% to $261 million. Improved average selling price partly offset lower sales volume due to the sale of a flat glass manufacturing facility. Even though demand in Europe improved, domestic demand reduced sales of fiber glass. The segment’s income was lower at $28 million  due to expenditure of $8 million for repair and facility outrage. Asian joint ventures also provided lower equity earnings.

Financial Position

PPG Industries ended the quarter with a cash balance of $909 million, up 23.7% year over year. Long-term debt was up 5.5% at $4,226 million.

The company has also declared a quarterly dividend of 40 cents per share, up 4 cents or 11% from the prior payout. This will be the company’s 471st consecutive dividend payment.

The company repurchased 1.5 million shares for $150 million in the quarter. This reduced the diluted shares outstanding by roughly 2%. It still has $770 million remaining under the share repurchase authorization.

Outlook

PPG Industries remains committed to deliver higher organic growth, including continued commercialization of its innovative, industry-leading coatings technologies. The reported quarter saw increased growth in Europe, and the company expects the trend to continue. It anticipates regional demand in the U.S. and Canada to improve incrementally year over year.

The company is working on developing as well as commercializing new consumer-driven technology. Improvised branding strategies are also being undertaken. As in the past, emphasis on reducing costs remains for the coming quarters and the company aims to complete its previously started restructuring program. PPG has reaffirmed its plans to deploy $2–$2.5 billion cash over 2015–2016 toward acquisitions and share repurchases.

Zacks Rank

PPG Industries currently carries a Zack Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked companies in the diversified chemical space include The Dow Chemical Co. DOW, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. Ltd. SHI and Akzo Nobel N.V. AKZOY, all of which sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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