Actuant (ATU) Beats Q1 Earnings Estimates, Lowers Sales View

Actuant CorporationATU reported better-than-expected results for the first quarter of fiscal 2019 (ended Nov 30, 2018), the positive earnings surprise being 12.5%. This was the company's third consecutive quarter of positive earnings beat.

This industrial tool maker's adjusted earnings per share in the reported quarter were 27 cents, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 24 cents. On a year-over-year basis, the bottom line increased 42.1% from the year-ago tally of 19 cents. The improvement came on the back of healthy organic growth and improving margins.

Organic Growth Drives Revenues

Actuant generated sales of $292.5 million in the reported quarter, reflecting growth of 1.2% from the year-ago tally. The improvement was driven by 3% growth in organic sales, partially offset by roughly 2% adverse impact of unfavorable movements in foreign currencies. It is worth noting here that gains from Equalizer and Mirage buyouts, as well as adverse impact of Viking divestiture, had a negligible impact on sales.

However, the top line lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $299 million by roughly 2.2%.

The company reports net sales under two segments - Industrial Tools & Services (IT&S), and Engineered Components & Systems (EC&S). Earlier, the company used to report under three segments - Industrial, Energy and Engineered Solutions. The segmental information is briefly discussed below:

Industrial Tools & Services (50.8% of first-quarter fiscal 2019 net sales): This segment's revenues in the reported quarter totaled $148.7 million, reflecting growth of 4.7% from the year-ago tally. The segment's core sales grew 4% while Equalizer and Mirage buyouts added 2%, partially offset by adverse forex impacts of 1%.

Engineered Components & Systems (49.2% of first-quarter fiscal 2019 net sales): This segment's revenues in the quarter under review totaled $143.9 million, down roughly 2.1% from the year-ago tally. The segment's core sales improved 2% while both unfavorable movements in foreign currencies and divestiture of Viking had 2% adverse impact.

Margins Improve Y/Y

In the reported quarter, Actuant's cost of sales decreased 0.3% year over year to $187.5 million. It represented 64.1% of sales compared with 65.1% in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin improved 100 basis points (bps) year over year to 35.9%. Selling, administrative and engineering expenses decreased 1.7% year over year to $73.2 million. As a percentage of sales, it represented 25% versus 25.8% in the year-ago quarter.

Adjusted earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $35.5 million, up 14.3% year over year. Adjusted EBITDA margin in the reported quarter was 12.1% versus 10.8% in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted operating income increased 29.3% year over year to $27.5 million while adjusted operating margin grew 200 bps to 9.4%.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

Exiting first-quarter fiscal 2019, Actuant's cash and cash equivalents were $203.4 million, down 18.8% from $250.5 million at the end of the last reported quarter. Long-term debt balance decreased 1.5% sequentially to $495.4 million.

In the quarter under review, the company used cash of $29.1 million for its operating activities, higher than 20.5 million used in the year-ago quarter. Capital spending totaled $7.7 million, down 3% year over year.

During the reported quarter, the company paid dividend amounting to $2.4 million.


As disclosed, Actuant completed the divestment of upstream oil & gas business of Cortland Fibron on Dec 19, 2018. Further, it is progressing well with divestitures of Precision-Hayes International and Cortland US businesses.


Actuant believes that emphasis on the development of products, better serving customers and enhancement of operational efficiency will help it deliver sound results in fiscal 2019. Moreover, the company's initiatives to restructure its portfolio will work in its favor.

For fiscal 2019, the company reaffirmed its adjusted earnings per share projection of $1.09-$1.20. This projection includes the impact of 12 cents per share, relating to the increase in tax rate from 10% in fiscal 2018 to 20% in fiscal 2019.

Sales projection has been revised down from $1.21-$1.24 billion to $1.15-$1.19 billion. The revision was primarily due to forex woes and divestment of the Cortland Fibron business. The new guidance reflects year-over-year growth of 3-5%.

Free cash flow will likely be $80-$85 million.

For the fiscal second quarter, adjusted earnings are anticipated to be 15-20 cents per share and sales are likely to be $268-$278 million.

Actuant Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Actuant Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Actuant Corporation Quote

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

With a market capitalization of approximately $1.3 billion, Actuant currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the Zacks Industrial Products sector are DXP Enterprises, Inc. DXPE , EnPro Industries, Inc. NPO and Luxfer Holdings PLC LXFR . All these stocks currently sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here .

In the past 60 days, earnings estimates for all these three stocks improved for the current year. Further, positive earnings surprise for the last quarter was 17.95% for DXP Enterprises, 23.64% for EnPro Industries and 60.61% for Luxfer.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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