Gibraltar Industries’ fourth-quarter profits topped analyst forecasts, as the Hamburg construction products manufacturer’s sales strengthened by 9 percent.
And while Gibraltar executives said they expect profits to improve by anywhere from 10 to 30 percent this year, that growth still was slightly less robust than analysts were projecting.
Brian J. Lipke, Gibraltar’s chairman and CEO, said the company’s cost-cutting efforts, including a consolidation of its West Coast operations during the last year, have helped bolster the firm’s earnings, even though its key construction and infrastructure markets remain subdued.
Gibraltar’s profits improved to $4 million, or 13 cents per share, compared with a loss of $3.9 million, or 13 cents per share, a year ago. Excluding one-time charges, the company’s adjusted profits improved by 60 percent, to $2.4 million, or 8 cents per share, from $1.5 million, or 5 cents per share, a year earlier. Those adjusted profits were much stronger than the 5 cents per share that analysts were expecting.
Gibraltar’s sales rose to $189 million, from $173 million a year earlier, buoyed by a 9 percent gain in revenues from its residential products, especially its line of mailboxes. Gibraltar sells between 4 million and 5 million mailboxes each year, mostly for use at single-family homes, Lipke said.
The company’s industrial and infrastructure sales strengthened by 10 percent, mainly from improving conditions in its North American markets. Excluding acquisitions that the company made over the last year, sales grew by 3 percent.
Lipke warned that the company’s current quarter is likely to be weaker because the harsh winter weather has been curtailing residential construction, while its industrial and transportation infrastructure markets remain weak. Gibraltar’s adjusted profits likely will be “slightly less” than the 4 cents per share that it earned a year ago, said Kenneth W. Smith, the company’s chief financial officer, during a conference call Thursday.
But the company still expects its sales and profits to improve over the course of the full year. Gibraltar said that it expects its adjusted profits to rise to between 76 and 90 cents per share this year, up from 69 cents per share during 2013. That’s less than the 92 cents per share that analysts were forecasting.
Gibraltar said its sales this year are expected to rise by between 4 and 7 percent, or between $860 million and $885 million, driven by improvement in its residential markets. The company’s sales last year rose by 5 percent, to $828 million, and Lipke said Gibraltar’s factories have unused capacity that could support as much as $200 million to $300 million in additional sales.