Astec Industries, Inc. ASTE reported adjusted earnings of 42 cents per share in fourth-quarter 2017, which declined around 20.8% year over year. Earnings also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 45 cents.
Including an income-tax benefit from the U.S. tax reform, the company posted earnings of 47 cents per share compared to 53 cents reported in the year-ago quarter.
Astec's total revenues of $312 million slipped 4.3% from $327 million reported in the year-ago quarter. However, revenues beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $288 million.
Astec Industries, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Astec Industries, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Astec Industries, Inc. Quote
Astec's domestic sales dipped 7.4% year over year to $245.4 million. However, international sales increased 8.7% year over year to $67 million. Cost of sales escalated 47.6% year over year to $249.6 million. Gross profit came in at $62.8 million, marking a 2.7% decline from $64.5 million reported in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin expanded 40 basis points (bps) year over year to 20.1%.
Selling, general, administrative and engineering expenses edged down 1.4% year over year to $44.8 million. The company reported operating income of $18 million compared with $19 million recorded in the prior-year quarter.
Revenues for the Infrastructure Group segment dropped 24.4% to $146.7 million from $194.1 million in the year-ago quarter. The segment reported an operating profit of $11.1 million, underlining a plunge of 44.8% from $20.1 million in the year-earlier quarter.
Total revenues for the Aggregate and Mining Group segment increased 17.2% year over year to $96.5 million. Profit declined 5.3% year over year to $6.4 million.
The Energy Group segment's total revenues jumped 38% year over year to $69.2 million. The segment reported operating profit of $5.9 million, up significantly from $1 million in the year-ago quarter.
Astec reported earnings per share of $1.63 in 2017, down significantly 31.5% year over year. However, earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.61.
Revenues in 2017 went up 3.3% year over year to $1.19 billion from $1.15 billion reported in the prior year. Revenues also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.16 billion.
Astec reported cash and cash equivalents of $62.3 million as of Dec 31, 2017, down from $82.4 million as of Dec 31, 2016. Receivables increased to $120 million as of Dec 31, 2017, from $110.7 million as of Dec 31, 2016. Inventories were at $391.4 million as of Dec 31, 2017, compared with $360.4 million as of Dec 31, 2016.
The company's total backlog improved 13.7% to $411.5 million as of Dec 31, 2017 from $361.8 million as of Dec 31, 2016. Backlog improved 31.5% and 35.2% in the Aggregate and Mining Group and Energy group, respectively. Backlog in the Infrastructure Group increased slightly 3.1%. Domestic backlog increased 12.3% year over year to $335.9 million as of Dec 31, 2017 and international backlog improved 20.5% year over year to $75.6 million at the end of the reported quarter.
Share Price Performance
Astec's shares have significantly underperformed the industry with respect to price performance over the past year. The stock has declined 8.4%, as against 57.1% growth registered by the industry.
Zacks Rank and Other Key Picks
Currently, Astec carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Other top-ranked stocks in the same space include H&E Equipment Services, Inc. HEES , Caterpillar Inc. CAT and Komatsu Ltd. KMTUY . While H&E Equipment Services sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Caterpillar and Komatsu carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .
H&E Equipment Services has a long-term earnings growth rate of 18.6%. Its shares have rallied 74.7%, over the past six months.
Caterpillar has a long-term earnings growth rate of 10.3%. The company's shares have been up 34.3% during the same time frame.
Komatsu has a long-term earnings growth rate of 27.2%. The stock has gained 43.6% in six months' time.
Today's Stocks from Zacks' Hottest Strategies
It's hard to believe, even for us at Zacks. But while the market gained +18.8% from 2016 - Q1 2017, our top stock-picking screens have returned +157.0%, +128.0%, +97.8%, +94.7%, and +90.2% respectively.
And this outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. Over the years it has been remarkably consistent. From 2000 - Q1 2017, the composite yearly average gain for these strategies has beaten the market more than 11X over. Maybe even more remarkable is the fact that we're willing to share their latest stocks with you without cost or obligation.
See Them Free>>
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Caterpillar Inc. (CAT): Free Stock Analysis Report Astec Industries, Inc. (ASTE): Free Stock Analysis Report Komatsu Ltd. (KMTUY): Free Stock Analysis Report H&E Equipment Services, Inc. (HEES): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.