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At Valspar, Q1 sales and earnings slip

BY Ken Clark

Weaker-than-anticipated international markets help put a damper on Valspar’s first-quarter performance. 

The Minneapolis-based paint giant saw sales decline to $875.2 million in the quarter, down from $885.6 million in the same quarter last year. Net income declined to $55.0 million, compared with $55.8 million. 

“Although we made substantial progress this quarter on a number of key initiatives, international markets were weaker than anticipated,” said Gary Hendrickson, chairman and CEO. “We continued to invest in our long-term opportunities and remain confident we will achieve our new business plans for the full year. However, weak demand in certain international markets is expected to continue." 

The company adjusted downward its full-year guidance to $3.60 to $3.80 to reflecting the market conditions. 

Valspar recently announced a long-term deal with Ace Hardware. Under the deal, Valspar will manufacture and supply Ace-branded paint products to Ace dealers. The companies also announced that Valspar has acquired Ace Hardware’s paint manufacturing assets, including two manufacturing facilities located near Chicago. 

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Concert raises $2.4 million for wounded soldiers

BY Ken Clark

A Kix Brooks concert event for Operation Finally Home hosted at the Las Vegas House of Blues by American Country Countdown and manufacturer LP Building Products rallied building industry attendees to commit an estimated $2.4 million toward homes for wounded soldiers. The concert was held during the International Builders’ Show. 

During the event, eight builders from around the nation representing cities such as Nashville, Tenn.; Amarillo, Texas; and Charlotte, N.C., pledged to join Operation Finally Home in their mission to provide mortgage-free homes for wounded soldiers across the United States. American Country Countdown and LP Building Products recently announced plans to support Operation Finally Home in the construction of homes for six wounded veterans in the next two years. Pledged support from eight builders will allow for further expansion of these plans. 

“The sense of community in our industry has always set us apart. I’ve never seen it more evident than when I watched these builders come forward to offer their time and resources in order to provide homes for our nation’s veterans,” said Rick Olszewski, executive VP specialty products, sales and marketing. “LP Building Products is honored to be a part of an effort bringing together so many companies and people across the industry in support of these wounded heroes.” 

The first American Country Countdown/LP Building Products-sponsored home will be built in Las Vegas for wounded soldier Army Cpl. Christopher Bales, a Purple Heart recipient who served two tours of duty — in Iraq from 2007 to 2008 and in Afghanistan in 2010. 

Born out of the Bay Area Builders Association Support Our Troops effort, Operation FInally Home was founded by Dan Wallrath in 2005. Daniel Vargas, a retired U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant, runs the organization out of New Braunfels, Texas. The program provides custom-made homes to wounded and disabled veterans as well as to widows of the fallen to help them get their lives back on track.

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Masco reports strong growth in fourth quarter

BY Ken Clark

Taylor, Mich.-based Masco Corp. said cost reduction played a role in what it described as a "strong" fourth quarter that provides momentum for the year 2013.

Sales were up 9% to $1.89 billion for the quarter. The company narrowed its fourth-quarter net loss to $87 million, compared with a net loss of $573 million in the fourth quarter last year.

"Our solid fourth-quarter results reflect the successful execution of our strategic initiatives, including leveraging our brands, reducing our costs, improving our Installation and Cabinet segments and strengthening our balance sheet," said Masco`s president and CEO, Tim Wadhams. "Our sales and margin growth represent strong performance across all of our operating segments, including a return to profitability in our Installation segment. We believe this momentum will continue into 2013." 

The company offered insights into the fourth-quarter performance of its various home divisions: 

  • Plumbing Products` net sales increased 10%, fueled by strong performance in North America and internationally;
  • Decorative Architectural Products` net sales increased 11%, driven by growth in core products and new programs;
  • North American Cabinetry`s sales increased 13%, and operating margins improved;
  • Installation and Other Services achieved profitability for the first time since the fourth quarter of 2008; and
  • Other Specialty Products` net sales increased 6% and segment margins expanded, reflecting share gains and profit improvement initiatives. 

For the full year, the company’s net sales increased 4.4% to $7.7 billion. The company posted a net loss of $114 million, compared with a net loss of $575 million in the same quarter last year. 

The company also said that in early February, it determined that its Danish ready-to-assemble cabinet business is not core to its long-term growth strategy. Masco plans to dispose of the business unit, which had sales of approximately $250 million in 2012.

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