Sherwin-Williams points to record-high performance

The Sherwin-Williams Company posted strong results for its full-year 2013 and fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, with sales and income well above year-ago figures. However, results still came in below earlier forecasts, which caused shares to drop on Thursday.

Net sales for the three-month period were $2.46 billion, compared to $2.22 billion in the previous year's quarter. For the full year, they came in at $10.2 billion, up 6.8%.

At $116.1 million, fourth-quarter net income was a full 70.6% above year-ago figures. Full-year net income of $752.6 million marked a year-over-year growth rate of 19.3%.

"We are pleased to report another year of record highs for multiple financial measures in 2013, including sales, earnings per share, net operating cash and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization," said chairman and CEO Christopher Connor. "Net operating cash surpassed $1.0 billion for the first time in the company's history."

Net sales for the Paint Stores Group was up 10.9% to $6.0 billion for the full year, as well as 17.6% to $1.5 billion for the quarter. The company attributed these gains primarily to higher architectural paint sales volume.

Connor added that the growth was driven by improvements across all business units, as well as the Comex acquisition, which performed according to expectations. The company added 388 new stores, including 306 via Comex, in 2013.

Guidance for the first quarter of 2014 includes a 7-12% consolidated net sales increase, with diluted net income per common share in the range of $.95 to $1.15 per share.

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