More financial news

More financial news

Fiserv projects continued growth
Fiserv Inc., a Brookfield-based provider of financial services technology solutions, reported fourth quarter net income of $143 million, or $1.01 per share, up from $116 million, or 78 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
The company’s quarterly revenue grew to $1.2 billion from $1.1 billion a year earlier.
"Revenue growth in the quarter was at its highest level in more than three years leading to our 26th consecutive year of double-digit adjusted EPS growth," said Jeffery Yabuki, president and chief executive officer of Fiserv. "Our market leading solutions have us well positioned to capitalize on important trends in the financial services industry."
Fiserv expects 2012 adjusted revenue growth to be in a range of 4 to 6 percent and adjusted internal revenue growth to be in a range of 3.0 to 4.5 percent. The company also expects 2012 adjusted earnings per share to be in a range of $5.04 to $5.20, which represents growth of 10 to 14 percent over $4.58 in 2011.
"Two consecutive years of strong sales along with the introduction of new, highly valued solutions, have us well positioned to deliver additional client value and enhance growth," Yabuki said.

ZBB Energy Corp. to sell more stock shares

ZBB Energy Corp., a Menomonee Falls-based developer of intelligent, renewable energy power platforms, announced that it has entered into a securities purchase agreement for a registered direct offering with several investors to sell a total of 4.2 million shares of common stock for gross proceeds of $3.0 million.
The shares will be sold for a per share purchase price of 71 cents. MDB Capital Group LLC acted as the placement agent for this offering.
ZBB also entered into a stock purchase agreement with certain members of its board of directors, officers and advisors providing for the sale of a total of 206,250 shares of common stock for a price per share equal to 80 cents, which was the closing price of the company’s common stock on Jan. 30.
Eric Apfelbach, chief executive officer of ZBB Energy Corp., said, "This financing not only strengthens our balance sheet, but also continues to demonstrate our ability to attract fundamental investors and raise money with attractive terms. The participation from directors and management is a reflection of the belief in the mission."
The transactions are expected to close on or about Feb. 7, subject to satisfaction of customary closing conditions.

Earnings rise for Modine

Modine Manufacturing Company, a Racine-based provider of thermal management technology and solutions, reported fiscal third quarter net earnings of $8.3 million, or 18 cents per share, up from $5.6 million, or 12 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
The company’s quarterly sales grew to $373 million from $360 million a year earlier.
"We had another solid quarter, with a $7.1 million or 77 percent improvement in earnings from operations," said Modine president and chief executive officer Thomas Burke. "Our net earnings were negatively impacted by $2.1 million of foreign exchange losses and a $2.2 million asset write-off. Despite these impacts, our earnings per share increased 50 percent. Also during the quarter, we began to see softening in the European truck and premium automotive markets, and our Asian customers began working down inventory levels in the construction equipment market. These factors, combined with the foreign exchange losses, are prompting us to lower full year fiscal 2012 guidance for revenue growth and earnings per share."

ManpowerGroup reports robust quarter

ManpowerGroup reported fourth quarter net earnings of $63.6 million, or 78 cents per share, up from a net loss of $350.4 million, or $4.29 per share, in the same period a year ago.
The Milwaukee company’s revenues for the quarter totaled $5.5 billion, an increase of 5 percent from the year earlier period.
Included in the current year fourth quarter results is a reorganization charge, primarily related to office consolidations and severance costs, of $20.5 million. Net earnings in the quarter were not significantly impacted by changes in foreign currencies.
The prior year fourth quarter results included a goodwill and intangible asset impairment charge of $4.70 per diluted share and a reorganization charge of 25 cents per diluted share.
"We had a strong fourth quarter performance," said Jeffrey Joerres, ManpowerGroup chairman and chief executive officer. "The team executed well both operationally and strategically – we were able to achieve a 29 percent increase in underlying operating profit for the fourth quarter and 61 percent for the year, while substantially moving forward our strategic drivers. Our Solutions business continued to gain momentum as our clients are valuing our portfolio of offerings. Asia continued to lead the pack in revenue and profitability growth.”
Looking ahead, Joerres said, “We are cautiously optimistic about the first quarter, given the economic back drop, but any sizable disruption in Europe would affect our performance. We are anticipating the first quarter of 2012 diluted earnings per share to be in the range of 30 cents to 38 cents with an unfavorable currency impact of 2 cents per share."

Oak Creek plants spark Wisconsin Energy earnings

Wisconsin Energy Corp. reported fourth quarter net income of $116.0 million, or 50 cents per share, down from $125.9 million, or 53 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
The company’s quarterly revenues grew to $1.11 billion from $1.09 billion a year earlier.
For the full year 2011, the firm’s revenues rose to $4.49 billion, up from $4.20 billion in 2010.
A major factor contributing to the year’s strong performance was income from the company’s Power the Future plan. Earnings from Power the Future assets increased by 18 cents a share, driven by investment in the second new generating unit at the company’s Oak Creek site. The second expansion unit at Oak Creek began commercial service in January 2011.
For the year, consumption of electricity by large commercial and industrial customers grew slightly – by 0.3 percent – while electricity use by small commercial and industrial customers was down by 0.3 percent.  Residential electricity use declined by 1.8 percent from the prior year because of milder summer weather.
“Our sales to large commercial and industrial customers came in better than forecast,” said Gale Klappa, chairman, president, and chief executive of Wisconsin Energy. “We expected a decline in sales because of known plant closings in the region.  As the year progressed, however, we saw strength in several sectors – including iron ore mining, specialty steel, industrial machinery, and printing and publishing.”
At the end of December, the company was serving 2,267 more electric customers and 3,748 more natural gas customers than a year ago.
“By virtually every meaningful measure, 2011 was an exceptional year for Wisconsin Energy,” Klappa said.  “We achieved milestones in customer satisfaction, employee safety, and network reliability.  We delivered solid earnings growth and made significant progress toward a dividend payout that is more competitive with our peers.”
The company also announced that Susan Martin has been appointed executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Wisconsin Energy Corp., effective March 1.
Martin, 59, who currently serves as vice president, corporate secretary and associate general counsel, will succeed James Fleming, who has served as executive vice president and general counsel since 2006. Fleming has announced his intention to retire at the end of March. He will assist Martin with the transition until the date of his retirement.
Martin has served in her current role since 2007 and has been the lead counsel on environmental matters and on issues related to the company’s power generation business. She joined We Energies in 2000 as an attorney and was appointed law director of We Generation in 2006. Prior to joining We Energies, Martin was associated with the law firm of Foley & Lardner LLP in Milwaukee.
"Susan brings to her new position a depth of experience and an excellent understanding of our business," Klappa said. "She has been a key advisor during the execution of our Power the Future plan, and her addition to our senior team continues our tradition of recognizing strong and effective leadership."
Fleming, 66, joined Wisconsin Energy in 2006 from Southern Company, where he had served as associate general counsel for eight years.
"Jim has been an integral part of Wisconsin Energy’s success, helping to guide our company through a series of challenging and complex issues. His insight, work ethic and team spirit have made him an exceptional general counsel. We wish him well as he begins his much-deserved retirement," said Klappa.

Kohl’s raises earnings guidance
Menomonee Falls-based Kohl’s Corp. reported that its comparable store sales increased 0.6 percent in January compared to the same month a year ago.
Kevin Mansell, Kohl’s chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "January’s sales were in-line with our expectations. I am pleased to report that we achieved our goal of $1 billion in E-Commerce revenues in fiscal 2011. The E-Commerce business was a key contributor to our fiscal 2011 sales performance and we plan to build on its momentum in 2012. Additionally, strong expense management during the quarter contributed to better-than-expected profitability."
As a result of its January performance, the company is increasing its fourth quarter diluted earnings per share guidance from $1.70 – $1.73 to $1.79 – $1.80 and its fiscal 2011 guidance from $4.20 – $4.23 per diluted share to $4.29 – $4.30 per diluted share.
The company operates 1,127 stores in 49 states, compared with 1,089 stores at the same time last year.
Other retailers reporting national comparable store sales for January included: Saks Inc., up 10.5 percent; The Limited, up 9.0 percent; Costco, up 8.0 percent; Target Corp., up 4.3 percent; Macy’s Inc., up 2.4 percent; Bon-Ton Stores Inc., down 3.5 percent; and The Gap, down 4.0 percent.

Snap-on caps robust year

Snap-on Inc. reported fourth quarter net earnings of $74.3 million, or $1.27 per share, up from $57.9 million, or 99 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
The Kenosha tool manufacturer’s quarterly sales grew to $736.6 million from $696.9 million a year earlier.
The company’s full year 2011 sales of $2.85 billion increased 9.0 percent from prior year levels. Full year 2011 net earnings were $276.3 million, or $4.71 per diluted share.
"Our fourth quarter results extend our ongoing trend of year-over-year increases in sales and earnings," said Nick Pinchuk, Snap-on chairman and chief executive officer. "We believe they once again offer clear testimony to the continued advancements we’re making along our defined runways for coherent growth, which are those strategic areas of importance we have identified as being decisive to our future: enhancing the franchise network, expanding in the vehicle repair garage, extending into critical industries, and building in emerging markets. We further believe our fourth quarter and full year 2011 performance underscores our commitment to the Snap-on Value Creation Processes, which has enabled us to further navigate our runways for improvement in the crucial areas of safety, quality, customer connection, innovation and rapid continuous improvement (RCI) and has fueled our ongoing trend of increasing profitability. Finally, our encouraging results for both the fourth quarter and full year of 2011 reflect significant effort and achievement across our entire company; I thank all our franchisees and associates worldwide for their dedication to Snap-on and for their ongoing contributions and commitment to our team."

Johnson Outdoors compensates for drop in military sales
Racine-based Johnson Outdoors Inc. reported a fiscal first quarter net loss of $2.9 million, or 30 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $1.2 million, or 13 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Among the factors that produced the net loss were non-recurring costs and charges totaling $1.1 million related to restructuring of European operations and an asset write-off associated with the transfer of the company’s historic Old Town Canoe facility to the city of Old Town, Maine.
The company’s announced revenue grew 2 percent to more than $80 million during the quarter, despite a 66-percent drop in year-over-year military tent sales.
"Steady recovery of outdoor recreational markets remains central to continued progress against our strategic plan to ensure sustained profitability. Current economic conditions in key regions present a mixed picture of expectations for outdoor markets the remainder of the year. In North America and Asia, initial indicators are favorable for ongoing recovery, while uncertainty continues throughout Europe, particularly in southern European markets," said Helen Johnson-Leipold, chairman and chief executive officer. "While it is too early to predict how the year will go, our focus remains on sustaining marketplace momentum, gaining additional share and strengthening operations."

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