A day after releasing its third quarter 2013 financial results, Universal Forest Products Inc. ( UFPI ) announced an increase of 5% in its annual dividend rate. The move aimed to reward the shareholders has been approved by the company's board of directors. The news had sent the company's share price spiralling up 1.8% while combined with earnings release on Oct 16, up by 11.7%.
The new annual dividend rate of Universal Forest Products has been fixed at 42 cents, an increase of 2 cents over the previous rate of 40 cents. Revised semi-annual dividend rate now stands at 21 cents per share and has been approved for payment on Dec 15, 2013 to shareholders of record as on Dec 1, 2013.
In the first nine months ended Sep 2013, Universal Forest Products paid dividends totalling $4.0 million. The company follows a consistent policy of rewarding its shareholders through dividend payments, garnished with increases at regular intervals.
Highlights of Universal Forest Products' recently announced third quarter 2013 financial results has been provided to clearly depict the company's strong positioning in its end markets and its bright future prospects.
Universal Forest Products posted earnings per share of 71 cents, more than triple the earnings of 21 cents reported in the year-ago quarter. Compared with the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 54 cents, earnings per share in the quarter grew 31.5%. Sales, net of sales allowances, grew 22.2% on the back of double-digit revenue growth at the company's five market segments.
Cost of sales decreased, which combined with revenue increases led to year-over-year gross margin increase of 160 basis points. Talking of cash position of Universal Forest Products, cash and cash equivalents were at $5.2 million as compared with cash overdraft balance of $3.4 million in the previous quarter. Long-term debt balance was down 40.6% sequentially.
In the last 7 days, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Universal Forest Products has grown by 5.7% to $1.84 for 2013 and by 11.0% to $2.92 for 2014.
Universal Forest Products Inc. manufactures, treats, distributes, and installs lumber, composite wood, plastic and other building products. The company currently has a market capitalization of $945 million. The stock has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Other stocks to watch out for in the industry are Boise Cascade Company ( BCC ) also with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) while Rayonier Inc. ( RYN ) and Armstrong World Industries, Inc. ( AWI ) each hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).