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|Grainger Reports Record Results for the 2011 Third Quarter|
Raises 2011 EPS guidance range to $8.80 - $9.00
- Sales of $2.1 billion, up 11 percent
- Operating earnings of $303 million, up 21 percent
- Net earnings of $182 million, up 21 percent
- EPS of $2.51, up 22 percent
- Pretax ROIC* of 34.3 percent versus 30.2 percent in Q3 2010
CHICAGO, Oct. 18, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --
Grainger (NYSE: GWW) today reported record results for the 2011 third quarter ended September 30, 2011. Sales of $2.1 billion increased 11 percent versus $1.9 billion in the third quarter 2010. The 2011 third quarter had the same number of selling days (64) as the third quarter of 2010. Net earnings for the quarter increased 21 percent to $182 million versus $150 million in 2010. Earnings per share increased 22 percent to $2.51 versus $2.06 for the third quarter 2010.
The third quarter of 2010 included a non-cash benefit of $5 million after-tax, or $0.07 per share, from changes to the company's paid time off policy. Excluding this item, earnings per share increased 26 percent versus the 2010 third quarter.
*The GAAP financial statements are the source for all amounts used in the Return on Invested Capital (ROIC) calculation. ROIC is calculated using operating earnings (annualized based on sales days) divided by net working assets (a 4-point average for the year-to-date). Net working assets are working assets minus working liabilities defined as follows: working assets equal total assets less cash equivalents (4-point average of $316.1 million), deferred taxes, and investments in unconsolidated entities, plus the LIFO reserve (4-point average of $342.1 million). Working liabilities are the sum of trade payables, accrued compensation and benefits, accrued contributions to employees' profit sharing plans, and accrued expenses.
"This was an exceptional quarter for Grainger," said Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Jim Ryan. "We saw consistent, double-digit, sales growth each month of the quarter and delivered strong earnings growth and cash flow. Grainger's ability to help customers do more with less has been key to our success. Our growth drivers such as product line expansion, eCommerce, inventory management services and sales force expansion are paying off and helping us gain share. Given our strong performance to date, we are aggressively investing in these proven growth drivers to help meet customers' needs, create competitive advantage and grow the business."
"Given our strong operating performance to date, and the inclusion of Fabory starting in September," Ryan continued, "we have raised our 2011 sales growth guidance to a range of 11 to 12 percent and increased our expected earnings per share guidance to a range of $8.80 to $9.00." The company's EPS guidance excludes the expected $5 million after-tax gain on the sale of its minority ownership position in MRO Korea, announced on October 11, 2011. The company's previous guidance, effective July 19, 2011, projected sales growth of 9 to 10 percent and earnings per share in the range of $8.40 to $8.70.
On August 31, 2011, Grainger completed the acquisition of Fabory Group. Fabory is a leading European distributor of fasteners and related MRO products serving 120,000 customers with more than 80,000 products in 14 countries. Effective September 1, 2011, results of Fabory's operations are included in Grainger's consolidated results. Fabory is expected to be earnings neutral in 2011 and accretive to earnings in 2012.
Grainger's 11 percent sales growth for the third quarter consisted of 8 percent volume growth, 3 percentage points from price, 2 percentage points from acquisitions and 1 percentage point from foreign exchange. Sales growth for the quarter was negatively affected by 3 percentage points due to sales in 2010 related to the oil spill clean up in the Gulf of Mexico. On a daily basis, sales increased 10 percent in July, 10 percent in August and 14 percent in September. Excluding Fabory, sales on a daily basis in September grew 10 percent.
For the quarter, company operating earnings of $303 million increased 21 percent, driven primarily by sales volume and higher gross profit margins, partially offset by operating expenses growing faster than sales, up 13 percent. Excluding the $8 million pre-tax benefit from the change in paid time off policy in 2010, company operating expenses grew 12 percent and operating earnings increased 25 percent.
Grainger has two reportable business segments, the United States and Canada, which represent approximately 94 percent of company year-to-date sales. The remaining operating units (Europe (Fabory), Japan, Mexico, Colombia, India, China, Puerto Rico and Panama) are included in Other Businesses and are not reportable segments.
Sales for the United States segment increased 7 percent in the 2011 third quarter, driven by a 7 percentage point contribution from volume and 3 percentage points from price, offset by a 3 percentage point drag due to sales in 2010 related to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Daily sales increased 5 percent in July, 8 percent in August and 7 percent in September. Sales related to the 2010 oil spill created a 3 percentage point drag in July, August and September, respectively. Sales to all customer end-markets, except for reseller, were up in the quarter, led by heavy manufacturing, which increased in the mid-teens. The reseller end-market was down in the low twenties due to strong sales in 2010 related to the oil spill.
Operating earnings in the United States segment increased 15 percent versus the 2010 third quarter. The increase in operating earnings was primarily the result of higher sales and improved gross profit margins. Gross profit margins for the quarter increased 180 basis points driven primarily by price increases exceeding product cost increases and positive selling mix. Operating expenses increased 9 percent, 7 percent excluding the 2010 paid time off benefit, and were driven by higher volume and growth-related spending on eCommerce, advertising, the opening of a new distribution center and the addition of sales representatives.
Sales for the Acklands-Grainger business in the quarter increased 23 percent in U.S. dollars versus the 2010 third quarter. In local currency, sales increased 16 percent for the quarter, driven by 14 percentage points from volume and 2 percentage points from acquisitions. Daily sales in local currency increased 18 percent in July, 14 percent in August and 15 percent in September. Sales in Canada benefited from strength in the heavy manufacturing, retail/wholesale, transportation, and agriculture and mining customer end-markets.
Operating earnings in Canada increased 72 percent for the 2011 third quarter, 63 percent in local currency. The increase in operating earnings was primarily due to higher sales and a 30 basis point increase in gross profit margins. Positive operating expense leverage from continued cost management also contributed to the improvement in operating performance.
Sales for the Other Businesses, which include Europe (Fabory), Japan, Mexico, Colombia, India, China, Puerto Rico and Panama, increased 66 percent versus prior year, due primarily to the Fabory acquisition and strong growth in Japan and Mexico. Although smaller in size, the remaining businesses also posted strong sales growth in the quarter.
Operating earnings for Other Businesses were $11 million for the third quarter of 2011 compared to $4 million a year ago. The improvement was primarily driven by strong earnings growth in Japan and Mexico, coupled with lower operating losses in China. Earnings from Fabory in the month of September also contributed to the earnings growth for the Other Businesses in the quarter.
Interest expense net of interest income was $2.0 million versus $1.6 million the prior year. The increase was primarily attributable to interest on the new debt of euro 120 million used to finance part of the Fabory acquisition. Grainger's effective income tax rates were 38.7 percent and 39.4 percent for the third quarter of 2011 and 2010, respectively. The 2011 effective rate is lower than the prior year's rate primarily due to higher earnings in foreign jurisdictions with lower tax rates.
Operating cash flow was $251 million for the 2011 third quarter versus $206 million in the third quarter of 2010. Capital expenditures were $47 million in the quarter compared to $43 million in the prior year quarter. Dividends paid in the 2011 third quarter were $47 million. The company purchased 360,000 shares of stock in the 2011 third quarter and has approximately 7.3 million shares remaining under the current repurchase authorization.
Year to Date
For the nine months ended September 30, 2011, sales of $6.0 billion increased 12 percent, or 11 percent on a daily basis, versus the nine months ended September 30, 2010. Net earnings increased 35 percent to $510 million versus $379 million in the first nine months of 2010. Earnings per share for the nine months increased 38 percent to $7.03 versus $5.10 for 2010. The first nine months of 2011 included a $0.12 per share benefit from the settlement of tax examinations related to 2007 and 2008. In the first nine months of 2010, there were two unusual non-cash items; a $0.24 per share benefit from changes to the company's paid time off policy and a $0.15 per share expense related to the tax treatment of retiree healthcare benefits following the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which resulted in a net benefit of $0.09 per share for the nine months ended September 30, 2010. Excluding unusual items in both years, earnings per share for the first nine months of 2011 increased 38 percent versus 2010.
W.W. Grainger, Inc., with 2010 sales of $7.2 billion, is North America's leading broad line supplier of maintenance, repair and operating products, with an expanding presence in Europe, Asia and Latin America.
Visit www.grainger.com/investor to access a podcast describing Grainger's performance in more detail.
This document contains forward-looking statements under the federal securities law. Forward-looking statements relate to the company's expected future financial results and business plans, strategies and objectives and are not historical facts. They are generally identified by qualifiers such as "helping us gain share", "proven growth drivers", "sales growth guidance", "expected earnings per share guidance", "guidance range", "projected" or similar expressions. There are risks and uncertainties, the outcome of which could cause the company's results to differ materially from what is projected. The forward-looking statements should be read in conjunction with the company's most recent annual report, as well as the company's Form 10-K, Form 10-Q and other reports filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, containing a discussion of the company's business and various factors that may affect it.
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