Thomas Industries Reports Year-End Sales and Earnings


Thomas Industries Inc. reported record earnings for the year-ended December 31, 2003, on net sales that were an all time record for its pump and compressor business.

Net income for the year was $37,314,000, or $2.12 per share, compared to $32,692,000, or $2.00 per share for the comparable period a year ago. Net income included a previously reported pre-tax gain of $2,272,000 included in the equity earnings from Genlyte Thomas Group LLC (GTG). Net sales for the year were $376,774,000, versus $240,602,000 a year ago. Net sales and net income for the year 2002 include only four months of contributions from Werner Rietschle GmbH & Company, which was acquired on August 29, 2002.

Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2003 increased 17 percent, to $99,633,000, versus $85,376,000 in the comparable 2002 period. Net income for the quarter declined two percent, to $8,493,000, or $.48 per share, compared to $8,650,000, or $.49 per share a year ago.

Sales were positively impacted in the fourth quarter and year by foreign exchange rate differences from the previous year's periods by $8,000,000 and $17,000,000, respectively. However, pre-tax earnings were negatively impacted by foreign exchange differences from the previous year's quarter by approximately $1,000,000. For the year, the pre-tax impact of foreign currency differences was a favorable $40,000.

Timothy C. Brown, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Our fourth quarter operating income was negatively impacted by the continued strength of the euro and other currencies versus the dollar. In addition, we incurred costs of approximately $400,000 to relocate our Memmingen, Germany, premises to a new facility to allow for expansion. As previously announced, we began expensing stock options in the fourth quarter of 2003, and incurred a charge of $163,000. I

n the fourth quarter, corporate expense also included increases compared to the previous year involving personnel, legal and travel costs related to expansion activities in China, compliance with the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, and an increase in the Kentucky franchise tax." Brown added, "Operating income for the Pump and Compressor Group for the quarter, excluding Corporate expenses, increased 5.5 percent over the fourth quarter of 2002, with nice gains posted by our European and our Asia Pacific Groups. This was offset by a weaker performance in North America due to pricing pressures in the medical market and a decline in automotive sales."

In commenting on the Company's lighting joint venture, Brown said, "We are pleased with the performance of GTG, as sales grew 6.6 percent for the year, despite tough market conditions. We recorded a nine percent increase in GTG equity earnings over the comparable quarter of 2002, and a 12 percent increase for the full year 2003, despite continued cost pressures."

Brown added, "The Company recently announced the planned shutdown of its manufacturing facility in Wuppertal, Germany, with an anticipated cost for the first three quarters of 2004 of approximately $3,000,000. The Wuppertal product line will be transferred to our new Memmingen facility by the end of June 2004."

In commenting on the outlook for the year, Brown said, "We are optimistic about the year ahead as we anticipate additional operational improvements within our pump and compressor business. Our priorities will be on growing sales and improving our operations with particular emphasis on reducing costs, improving on-time delivery and lowering our overall cost of quality."

Thomas Industries Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, designs, manufactures and markets Rietschle Thomas brand pumps and compressors for use in global OEM applications, supported by worldwide sales and service for key customer applications and end-user markets. High quality automotive component castings are also a key offering. Other products include Welch laboratory equipment and Oberdorfer bronze and high alloy liquid pumps. Thomas has wholly-owned operations in 21 countries, spanning five continents. The Company also owns a 32 percent interest in Genlyte Thomas Group LLC, the third largest lighting fixture manufacturer in North America.

The statements in this press release with respect to future results and future expectations may be regarded as forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and actual results may differ materially from those currently expected. They are subject to various risks, such as the ability of Thomas Industries and the joint venture to meet business sales goals, fluctuations in commodity prices, increased interest costs arising from a change in the companies' leverage or change in rates, the timing of the magnitude of capital expenditures, competitive pricing pressures, a slowing of the overall economy including interruptions to commerce resulting from wars or terrorist attacks, as well as other risks discussed in Thomas' filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report and 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2002. Thomas Industries makes no commitment to disclose any revisions to forward-looking statements, or any facts, events, or circumstances after the date hereof that may bear upon forward-looking statements.

Please check the company’s website for comparative sales and income tables.

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