Brady narrows loss, names new CFO

Milwaukee-based Brady Corp. reported a fiscal 2014 net loss of $110.4 million, compared to a loss of $177.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Revenue at the identification solution manufacturer was $316.7 million, up from $310.6 million in the same period a year ago.

Brady recorded a $148.6 million impairment charge due to the write down of intangible assets in the PeopleID reporting unit that resulted from the slow growth of December 2012 acquisition Precision Dynamics Corp. In the fourth quarter of 2013, Brady had a $204.4 million impairment charge for its North American Workplace Safety unit and its Asia reporting unit.

“We were encouraged by our revenue growth in the fourth quarter, which marks the second consecutive quarter of organic sales growth,” said J. Michael Nauman, Brady president and chief executive officer. “This marks the first quarter of growth in our Workplace Safety business since fiscal 2012 as we continue to add new customers, increase revenues over the internet and realize returns from increased catalog advertising.”

For the full year, Brady reported a net loss of $46 million, compared to a net loss of $154.5 million in 2013.

Fiscal 2014 revenue was $1.2 billion, flat from 2013.

Organic sales were up 2.9 percent in Identification Solutions and down 4.6 percent in Workplace Safety.

The company expects to continue manufacturing facility consolidation plans through the end of fiscal 2015, Nauman said.

“Although we had organic sales growth, we were not pleased with our profitability performance as we continued to incur costs related to the consolidation of our facilities and have been experiencing challenges in terms of sales mix and pricing,” Nauman said. “Our overall facility consolidation efforts have been scaled back, and we will continue to execute the facility consolidation activities in a manner that will allow us to maintain the highest service levels and least disruptions to our customers while still achieving efficiency gains over the long run. We are focused on executing business fundamentals to drive organic sales growth while deemphasizing acquisitions at this time. We are increasing our investments in R&D to create sustainable processes for developing new innovative products that generate significant value for our customers. We will also focus on penetrating specific vertical markets in our Identification Solutions business in order to drive sales growth within our current industries including healthcare; food and beverage; chemical, oil and gas; and aerospace and mass transit, as well as expand our presence and product offering in selected markets in Asia. This accelerated investment in Identification Solutions will be evident in our fiscal 2015 financial results and is included in our guidance for next year.”

Brady also announced that Thomas Felmer has been named senior vice president and president-Workplace Safety. Felmer previously served as senior vice president and chief financial officer and has been at Brady since 1989.

Aaron Pearce will replace Felmer as senior vice president and CFO. Pearce joined Brady in 2004 and most recently served as vice president of finance.

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