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Toro breaks even in Q4

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Toro reported break-even net earnings of $13,000 on net sales of $341 million for the fourth quarter ended Oct. 31, compared to net earnings of $6.5 million on net sales of $332.5 million in the same period last year.

Net earnings in the fourth quarter were reduced by a pre-tax charge of $4.7 million, or $0.08 per share, on an after-tax basis. The charge was taken in its fiscal fourth quarter to account for work force adjustments, the company reported.

For the full year, the Bloomington, Minn.-based company reported a decline of 15.9 percent on net earnings of $119.7 million, or $3.10 per share, compared to $142.4 million, or $3.40 per share, in 2007. Net sales were flat at $1,878.2 million, compared to $1,876.9 million last year.

At the same time, international sales grew 12 percent to offset weakness in domestic business. Toro also generated a record $216 million in cash flow for fiscal 2008 — $32 million more than the previous year — and returned $133 million to shareholders through dividend payments and share repurchases.

Entering the new fiscal year, the company says its liquidity position is solid, as indicated by a strong cash balance and supporting committed credit facilities. “While our revenue growth was impacted for the year due to persistently difficult domestic market conditions, Toro and field inventories are down significantly and should benefit us in the coming year,” said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO.

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NAHB cuts staff

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) announced cutbacks on staff and operating costs that will result in the savings of $11.5 million for the association in 2009.

The move was described by President and CEO Jerry Howard as “by far my toughest and most difficult decision,” in his 20 years at the NAHB.

“With our builders and other members of the housing industry confronting the most serious recession in more than 50 years, we are announcing today that NAHB is cutting $11.5 million from its operating budget to ensure that NAHB remains the premier advocacy and service trade association for the residential construction industry,” he said, in a prepared statement.

The organization will eliminate 52 positions, of which half are currently vacant. Certain expenditures previously approved for 2009 will also be reduced.

The cost cutting was brought on by what Howard called “stark financial realities.” The NAHB’s two main sources of income – membership and trade shows – are expected to be down significantly in 2009.

“By taking this action now, we help position the association to maintain its advocacy leadership and vital services for an industry struggling in the toughest economic environment seen in generations.”

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Facilities achieve energy accolades

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recognized “Energy Champion Plants,” including plants operated by CertainTeed, Black & Decker and Osram Sylvania.

The awards program is part of Save Energy Now, a national initiative of the DOE’s Industrial Technologies Program (ITP) to drive a 25 percent reduction in industrial energy intensity in 10 years. Industrial companies can participate in no-cost energy assessments and utilize ITP resources to reduce energy use while increasing profits, according to the DOE.

Forty-three plants were recognized for Champion Plant status, which means they achieved more than 250,000 MMBtu total energy savings or more than 15 percent total energy savings. The plants include: Black & Decker in Tampa, Fla.; CertainTeed Corp., Roofing Products, in Shreveport, La.; and Osram Sylvania in St. Marys, Pa.

The group also recognized Energy Savers — plants that achieved more than 75,000 MMBtu total energy savings or more than 7.5 percent total energy savings. These include Owens Corning in Savannah, Ga.;  Johns Manville in Jacksonville, Fla.; Dow Chemical Company in Freeport, Texas; and DuPont in Deepwater, N.J.

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