Actuant caps robust fiscal year

Menomonee Falls-based Actuant Corp. reported fiscal fourth quarter net earnings of $41.4 million, or 55 cents per share, up from a loss of $16.8 million, or 22 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
The company’s quarterly net sales grew to $403.4 million from $310.4 million a year earlier.
For the full fiscal year ended Aug. 31, Actuant’s sales were $1.45 billion, up 25 percent from $1.16 billion in the prior year.
Robert Arzbaecher, chairman and CEO of Actuant, said, "Actuant’s strong fourth quarter performance reflects terrific execution and continued momentum in our key end markets. In particular, we were pleased to see consolidated double-digit core sales growth for the sixth straight quarter despite tougher comparables. Fourth quarter core revenue increased 10%, above the high-end of our expectations with strong growth in both Energy and Industrial. The higher volumes, along with continued margin improvement, drove the robust 61 percent EPS growth. Free cash flow also exceeded our forecast due to higher earnings and effective working capital management."
The company also announced that its board of directors unanimously approved a stock repurchase program covering up to 7 million shares, or approximately 10 percent, of its outstanding Class A common stock.
"At current trading levels, the board of directors believes that our stock is an attractive investment for Actuant and its shareholders," said Arzbaecher. "Consistent with our business model, the primary and preferred use of our cash flow will continue to be reinvestment in our business through both organic and acquisition opportunities. However, in light of recent stock market volatility, we believe initiating a stock repurchase program will provide us the flexibility to respond when attractive opportunities arise to acquire shares."
Looking ahead, Arzbaecher said, "Our outlook for fiscal 2012 assumes that the global economy and worldwide industrial activity continue to reflect modest expansion, albeit not at the same level experienced in fiscal 2011. We expect to benefit from momentum in our later cycle businesses as well as new products and emerging market growth. On a consolidated basis, we expect core sales growth to continue to moderate as fiscal 2012 unfolds, with full year core sales growth in the range of 5 percent to 8 percent.”

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