Pentair announced first quarter 2019 sales of $689 million. Sales were down 6 percent compared to sales for the same period last year. Excluding currency translation, acquisitions and divestitures, core sales declined 4 percent in the first quarter.
First quarter 2019 earnings per diluted share from continuing operations (“EPS”) were $0.30 compared to $0.32 in the first quarter of 2018. On an adjusted basis, the company reported EPS of $0.43 compared to $0.49 in the first quarter of 2018.
First quarter 2019 operating income was $68 million, down 27 percent compared to operating income for the first quarter of 2018, and return on sales (“ROS”) was 9.8 percent, a decrease of 290 basis points when compared to the first quarter of 2018. On an adjusted basis, the company reported segment income of $99 million for the first quarter, down 16 percent compared to segment income for the first quarter of 2018, and ROS was 14.3 percent, a decrease of 170 basis points when compared to the first quarter of 2018.
Net cash used for operating activities of continuing operations was $257 million and free cash flow usage from continuing operations was $274 million for the quarter.
Pentair paid a regular cash dividend of $0.18 per share in the first quarter of 2019. Pentair previously announced on December 10, 2018 that its Board of Directors approved a 3 percent increase in the company s regular annual cash dividend rate for 2019 to $0.72 from $0.70, adjusted for the spin-off of nVent Electric plc. This marks the 43rd consecutive year that Pentair has increased its dividend.
“Wet and cold weather delayed pool construction activity in several key markets,” said John L. Stauch, Pentair President and Chief Executive Officer. “We have not seen any significant changes in demand trends within the important Aquatics markets. The inclement weather also impacted our higher margin Specialty Ag Spray business within Flow Technologies. As a result of slower sell-through during the first quarter, inventory levels were not reduced to the levels we originally anticipated. We expect inventory levels in the channel to come down as stronger sell-through resumes in the second and third quarters.”
“We believe this is a 2019 event and we expect to be even better positioned for the season next year. We continue to invest in our prioritized growth initiatives around advancing pool growth and accelerating residential and commercial water treatment. We are accelerating our productivity initiatives across operations and material sourcing and optimizing our cost structure. We have a strong capital structure, solid free cash flow generation, and we are continuing to invest in our strategy to be the leading residential and commercial water treatment company.”
The company reiterates its estimated 2019 GAAP EPS from continuing operations of approximately $2.04 - $2.09 and on an adjusted EPS basis of approximately $2.30 - $2.35. The company reiterates its full year 2019 sales guidance of up approximately 1 to 2 percent on a reported basis and approximately flat to up 1 percent on a core basis compared to full year 2018. The company expects full year free cash flow to approximate adjusted net income.
In addition, the company introduces second quarter 2019 GAAP EPS from continuing operations guidance of approximately $0.58 - $0.61 and on an adjusted EPS basis of approximately $0.63 - $0.66. The company expects second quarter sales to be up approximately 1 to 2 percent on a reported basis and approximately flat to up 1 percent on a core basis compared to second quarter 2018.