American professional furniture manufacturer, Steelcase, reported first quarter revenue of USD 723.1 million and net income of USD 21.0 million, or diluted earnings per share of $0.17. Excluding net restructuring benefits, adjusted earnings were $0.12 per share.
In the prior year, Steelcase reported $667.1 million of revenue, diluted earnings per share of $0.10 and adjusted earnings of $0.13 per share.
Organic revenue growth over the prior year was 8% after adjusting for approximately USD 4.4 million of favourable currency translation effects.
In the Americas, organic revenue growth over the prior year was 6%.
The EMEA segment posted organic revenue growth of 10%, driven primarily by additional shipping days in the current quarter and higher levels of project business.
The Other category posted organic revenue growth of 14%, driven by strong project business at PolyVision.
Current quarter operating income of USD 36.4 million compares to operating income of USD 20.4 million in the prior year.
First quarter adjusted operating income of USD 26.7 million improved modestly compared with adjusted operating income of USD 24.8 million in the prior year. Operating leverage from the revenue growth was largely offset by higher cost of sales.
“We believe our revenue growth in the U.S. continued to outpace the overall industry, and we were pleased to see improved project business in various markets across EMEA and Asia Pacific,” said Jim Keane, president and CEO.
“Earnings were lower than our expectations due to less than expected growth in the Americas and higher costs associated with product warranties, freight and distribution, some of which are expected to continue to impact our results through the second quarter.”
Cost of sales of 69.8% of revenue in the current quarter increased 130 basis points compared to the prior year.
In the Americas, cost of sales increased by 70 basis points over the prior year primarily due to higher warranty, freight and distribution costs.
In EMEA, cost of sales increased by 140 basis points driven largely by disruption costs associated with the manufacturing footprint changes.
The Other category cost of sales increased 330 basis points over the prior year, due to competitive pricing pressures and higher overhead costs in Asia Pacific.
Operating expenses were USD 191.9 million in the first quarter, an increase of USD 6.8 million over the prior year. This increase was largely due to higher variable compensation expense, driven in part by restructuring benefits, and unfavourable currency translation effects. As a percentage of revenue, operating expenses improved by 130 basis points.
Net restructuring benefits of USD 9.7 million in the current quarter included restructuring costs related to previously announced actions in EMEA and a USD 12.0 million gain related to the sale of an idle manufacturing facility in the Americas.
Other income, net in the first quarter of USD 3.5 million increased USD 2.3 million compared to the prior year, primarily due to higher equity in income of unconsolidated ventures.
Cash, short-term investments and the cash surrender value of company-owned life insurance totalled USD 398 million and total debt was USD 286 million at the end of the first quarter.
In the Americas, first quarter orders were flat compared to the prior year, and customer order backlog at the end of the first quarter increased approximately 6% compared to the prior year.
EMEA first quarter orders grew significantly due to favourable currency fluctuations, additional shipping days in the current quarter and strength in project business (including a large government project won in fiscal 2013 which is expected to begin shipping in the second half of fiscal 2015). As a result, EMEA customer order backlog at the end of the first quarter increased approximately 23% compared to the prior year.
Steelcase expects second quarter fiscal 2015 revenue to be in the range of USD 760 to USD 785 million, which reflects expected organic revenue growth in the range of 0 to 3% over the prior year. Steelcase reported revenue of USD 757.6 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2014.
Steelcase expects to report diluted earnings between $0.18 to $0.22 per share for the second quarter of fiscal 2015. This estimate includes approximately $0.04 per share of restructuring costs relating to previously announced restructuring projects.
Adjusted for the estimated restructuring costs, the company expects to report adjusted earnings between $0.22 to $0.26 per share. The estimates also include approximately USD 6 million of operating costs associated with disruption. The estimates do not include any restructuring costs associated with the project announced today due to the uncertainty of the timing and amount of such costs.
Steelcase reported diluted earnings per share of $0.22 and adjusted earnings per share of $0.24 in the second quarter of fiscal 2014.
“Taking into consideration a strong project pipeline and our award-winning new product introductions, we expect to continue our growth in the Americas in the second quarter, which would mark the 18th consecutive quarter of organic revenue growth,” Mr. Keane said.
“And we remain optimistic about the longer-term potential across EMEA and Asia Pacific as we continue to improve our competitiveness. Projects like the one we announced today are always challenging, and I am thankful for an organization dedicated to our success and ready to address those challenges.”