Milwaukee-based A.O. Smith Corp. today reported first quarter net earnings of $39 million, or 84 cents per share, down 18 percent from 2012 first quarter net earnings of $47.5 million, or $1.02 per share.
The company reported a record $509.6 million in net sales for the first quarter, up 8.7 percent from $468.6 million in the first quarter of 2012.
However, the company said its adjusted first quarter net earnings were $44.7 million, up 41 percent from first quarter 2012 adjusted net earnings of $31.7 million. The 2013 company’s adjusted first quarter net earnings excluded an after-tax restructuring and impairment charge of $9.5 million related to the closing of a water heater manufacturing facility in Canada, and an after-tax gain of $6.8 million from a settlement with a former supplier. The 2012 first quarter adjusted net earnings excluded an after-tax gain of $16.8 million related to the sale of Regal Beloit Corp.
“Our business is off to a very strong start this year,” said Ajita Rajendra, president and chief executive officer. “Our U.S. residential and commercial water heater volumes benefitted from improved economic conditions, and our Lochinvar product line continued to perform very well. Business conditions appear to be improving in the U. S., and new residential construction is beginning to show some signs of life for the first time in five years. Any increase in housing construction should complement our strong replacement water heater business. Our international business, especially our A. O. Smith branded products in China, continues to grow as a result of new product introductions with more robust features and benefits that provide value to our customers. Our investment in new product development continues to play a key role in our success in China.”