School Specialty Inc.
) posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2012 results on the
back of effective cost management and margin improvement. However,
budgetary constraints and a competitive pricing environment remain
The company posted a loss of 92 cents a share, narrower than the
Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $1.00 but wider than a loss
of 91 cents a share incurred in the comparable year-ago quarter. On
a reported basis, including one-time items, the quarterly loss came
in at $2.75 per share.
However, for the full fiscal year 2012, the company posted a
loss of 70 cents a share, which missed the Zacks Consensus earnings
estimate of 22 cents and widened substantially from a loss of 31
cents in fiscal 2011.
Let's Unveil the Picture
Greenville, Wisconsin-based School Specialty's total revenue
decreased 6.3% year over year and 5.1% sequentially to $119.3
million in the fourth quarter of 2012, and fell short of the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of $121 million. The fourth quarter of 2011
included an extra week, when an additional $8 million was earned.
Excluding this impact, revenues would have been more or less
consistent with the year-ago quarter.
For fiscal year 2012, total revenue fell 3.9% to $732 million
from $762.1 millionin 2011. Moreover, total revenue for the fiscal
year also missed the Zacks Consensus estimate of $734 million.
Despite a 6.6% decline in the cost of revenue, the gross profit
for the quarter dropped 6% to $46 million due to a fall in the top
line. However, the gross margin expanded 10 basis points to 38.6%
on account of improvements in Education Resources segment, which
compensated for the decline in Accelerated Learning segment.
The company reported adjusted EBITDA loss of $12.7 million for
the quarter compared with a loss of $13.7 million in the comparable
School Specialty hinted that it remains committed to augmenting
sales, improving margins and market position through cost
containment efforts, effective working capital management and
revenue declined 5.4% to $96.4 million from $101.9 million in the
fourth quarter of 2011. However, excluding the impact of the extra
week in the year-ago quarter, revenue was up by about 2%. Gross
profit for the segment came in at $35.5 million, down 2.2% from
$36.3 million in the year-ago quarter. However, gross margin
expanded by 120 basis points to 36.9%
School Specialty indicated that the Educational Resources
segment has been portraying improvement this year, with gross
margin improving sequentially as well as year over year. Further,
the company intends to widen its multi-channel and multi-market
approach to augment sales further.
revenue fell 10% to $22.8 million from $25.3 million in the
year-ago quarter. Gross profit declined 16.9% to $22.8 million
whereas gross margin contracted 380 basis points to 45.2%, due to
lower revenue from the products carrying higher margin and
increased amortization charges arising from product expansion.
The fall in revenue and margins was experienced as many
districts opted to defer their purchasing as states delayed their
traditional adoption cycles for a new curriculum, indicating
ambiguity in the marketplace about the school budgets and the
alteration in common core standards.
Other Financial Details
School Specialty ended fiscal 2012 with cash and cash
equivalents of $0.5 million and total long-term debt of $289.7
million, reflecting a debt-to-capitalization ratio of 81.1%, and
shareholders' equity of $67.9 million. The company generated free
cash flow of $5.8 million during fiscal 2012.
The recent economic downturn has resulted in uncertainty related
to state budget funding levels in the school districts, and in turn
a cautious spending approach. Therefore, management estimates
fiscal year 2013 to be almost in line with fiscal year 2012 with
respect to revenue and EBITDA.
However, management assumes a steady recovery in the economy in
the next 3-5 years beyond fiscal year 2013 and expects the organic
growth rate to be in the mid-single digit range, leading to 10% or
more EBIDTA margin growth.
School Specialty which competes with
Office Depot Inc.
) remains focused on their long-term investments, which will
optimize their growth opportunities, driving improvement in EBITDA.
Moreover, management is taking up initiatives to recognize and
close down the product lines that are not performing well and are
unable to provide sufficient returns to the company.
Further, the company believes that its long-term investments and
strategic focus will help it withstand the economic pressures.
However, we believe that the company will take time to
capitalize on their investments and initiatives undertaken and as a
result the short-term outlook remains a bit gloomy.
Therefore, the stock carries a Zacks #4 Rank, which implies a
Sell rating over the next 1-3 months. We also have a long-term
Neutral recommendation on the shares.
OFFICE DEPOT (ODP): Free Stock Analysis Report
SCHOOL SPECIALT (SCHS): Free Stock Analysis
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