Consumer sentiment pushes upward
The latest monthly update from the Home Improvement Research Institute shows a planned home improvement project incidence of 50.4% among consumers in April. That’s up 2.8% from the year-ago month and the second month in a row of year-over-year increases.
After a sharp drop in December, the first four months of planned project incidence have been mostly up, or very slightly down compared with last year, according to HIRI’s Monthly Sentiment Tracking.
The estimated cost of planned home improvement projects in April increased 1% from a year ago to $493.
HIRI is the home improvement industry’s foremost source for original research. It is an independent, not-for-profit membership organization comprised of more than 80 leading companies.
Toro reports rise in Q2 earnings, sales
Bloomington, Minn.-based Toro has reported second-quarter net earnings of $60.3 million, up 32% from net earnings of $45.7 million in the same period last year.
Net sales for the quarter ended April 29 totaled $631.6 million, up 12% from net sales of $562.8 million in the second quarter of 2010.
For the first six months of the fiscal period, Toro reported net earnings of $77.5 million, up 37% from net earnings of $56.6 million in the year-ago period.
Net sales for the first six months were $1.01 billion, up 13% from net sales of $894.2 million in the same period last year.
"We are very pleased with our second-quarter performance, as our execution serving the professional markets led to significant revenue and earnings growth, putting Toro on an early trajectory toward our Destination 2014 organic growth and profitability goals," said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO.
Professional segment earnings for the second quarter totaled $85.6 million, up 26.6% from the prior-year period. Net sales were $418.3 million, up 19.7% from last year. For the first six months, professional segment net sales were $676.6 million, up 20.3% from the same period last year. Six-month earnings were $123.5 million, up 32.2% from the comparable fiscal 2010 period.
Residential segment earnings for the second quarter totaled $26.5 million, up 5.7% from the prior-year period. Net sales were $209.6 million, down slightly from the second quarter in 2010. For the first six months, residential segment earnings were $37.9 million, down 1.6% from the comparable fiscal 2010 period. Net sales for the six months were $332.9 million, up 1.9% from last year.
The company expects net earnings for fiscal 2011 to be about $3.60 per share on a revenue increase of about 10% to 12%.
Apax completes Activant acquisition deal
Apax Partners completed the previously announced acquisitions of Epicor Software Corp. and Activant Solutions Inc.
Apax intends to combine Activant with Epicor to create one of the largest global providers of enterprise applications focused on the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services sectors. The combined company is now called Epicor Software Corp. The new Epicor has more than 33,000 customers in over 150 countries and more than $800 million in annual revenues.
"Bringing together two of the premier enterprise software companies creates a global market leader with deep expertise in the manufacturing, distribution, retail and services sectors,” said Jason Wright, a partner at Apax Partners. “Not only will customers and prospects benefit from a history of visionary innovation in business software and deep vertical industry expertise, but they will also benefit from the combined company’s increased scale and expanded service offerings.”
According to Apax, the combined company will benefit from economies of scale, as well as the ability to leverage highly complementary product lines, a broader channel partner program and an expanded geographic reach. Also, the combined company’s retail sector solutions now cover the full spectrum — from small hardgoods retailers, to national specialty softgoods and apparel chains, to global general merchandise department stores.
Apax Partners has begun the process of integrating the two companies and expects to make further announcements on management team structure in the coming weeks.