Cutting costs helps Modine improve earnings

Sales cooled by end market weakness

Source: Oshkosh Corp.

Racine-based Modine Manufacturing Co. reported essentially flat revenue in the first quarter of fiscal 2017, but the company was able to improve earnings through better cost controls.

Modine Manufacturing was awarded work on the JLTV contract being fulfilled by Oshkosh Defense. Source: Oshkosh Corp.
Modine Manufacturing was awarded work on the JLTV contract being fulfilled by Oshkosh Defense. Source: Oshkosh Corp.

Net income for the maker of thermal management systems was up 61.8 percent to $8.9 million, while earnings moved from 11 cents to 18 cents per diluted share.

Revenue for the quarter was up less than 1 percent to $347.2 million.

Thomas Burke, Modine president and chief executive officer, said the earnings improvement occurred despite weakness in several end markets. He credited the company’s strengthen, diversify and grow initiative for boosting financial performance. The initiative aims to cut costs, reduce customer concentration and cyclical exposure and target new incremental industrial revenue.

“We will continue to maintain a culture of cost discipline for the remainder of fiscal 2017,” Burke said.

Revenue was down in Modine’s Americas segment during the quarter, coming in at $140 million, compared to $159.1 million last year. Weakness in the commercial vehicle and off-highway markets was partially offset by higher sales to automotive customers. Favorable material costs, procurement savings and lower selling, general and administrative expenses helped keep operating income flat.

The Europe segment was up in the quarter, with revenue of $146 million, compared to $131.2 million last year. Higher sales to automotive and commercial vehicle customers boosted the top line figure. The higher volumes, favorable material costs, procurement savings and improved plant performance sent operating income up by $9.3 million, to $15 million.

The Asia segment reported revenue of $24.9 million, up from $19.3 million. The company credited higher sales to automotive customers for the increase.

The building HVAC segment reported revenue down $1.4 million to $39.9 million. Operating income was helped by lower SG&A costs, but a strong British Pound on previously booked orders and higher manufacturing costs hurt performance.

Company executives are scheduled to discuss results in more detail during a conference call Wednesday.

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Arthur covers banking and finance and the economy at BizTimes while also leading special projects as an associate editor. He also spent five years covering manufacturing at BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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