Drought takes toll on Briggs & Stratton

Drought conditions that resulted in lower lawn mower sales prompted Briggs & Stratton Corp. to report a fiscal first quarter net loss of $13.2 million, excluding additional restructuring charges.

The Milwaukee-based company’s losses grew from a net loss of $5.2 million the same quarter a year ago.

The company recorded pre-tax restructuring charges of $5.1 million ($3.3 million after tax or 7 cents per diluted share) during the three months ended Sept. 30.

“While our first quarter results are down from a year ago, they are in line with our expectations. Unusually dry conditions in the United States and the continued economic issues in Europe resulted in lower volumes compared to last year,” said Todd Teske, president and chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton. “In order to manage inventory levels, we executed on our plans to proactively reduce production levels in our manufacturing plants. The reduced sales into the lawn and garden market were only partially offset by the impact of generator shipments resulting from Hurricane Isaac, which had less of an impact than Hurricane Irene did last year. We continue to execute our restructuring program announced last year which resulted in savings of $9.8 million during the quarter, in line with our expectations. Overall, we continue to be on track with our plan for the full fiscal year and are reaffirming our fiscal year sales and earnings guidance.”

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