Restructuring takes toll on Briggs & Stratton

Milwaukee-based Briggs & Stratton Corp. reported a fiscal first quarter net loss of $19.3 million, or 41 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $16.5 million, or 35 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The company’s quarterly net sales grew to $317.3 million from $309.0 million a year earlier.

The fiscal 2014 first quarter consolidated net loss includes restructuring charges. The company continues to make progress toward moving horizontal engine manufacturing from its Auburn, Ala., plant to China. As noted previously, pre-tax restructuring costs for the first quarter of fiscal 2014 were $3.6 million. Pre-tax restructuring cost estimates for fiscal 2014 remain unchanged at $6 million to $8 million. Incremental restructuring savings for fiscal 2014 are expected to be $3 million to $5 million.

The company also is engaged in a stock share repurchase program of up to $50 million.

“Our first quarter results were slightly better than we anticipated as we experienced increased consumer demand for lawn and garden equipment leading to higher shipments of engines that power these products and higher shipments of lawn and garden products to our dealers,” said Todd Teske, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Briggs & Stratton. “We have also seen continued strength in standby generator sales; however, portable generator sales decreased with Hurricane Isaac landing last year and no significant storm activity this year. Higher retail sales of lawn and garden equipment have helped to reduce channel inventories. We also lowered our inventory by reducing production in the quarter compared to last year. While this reduced productivity and margins in the near term, our inventory levels are better aligned for manufacturing to retail demand in the upcoming lawn and garden season.”

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