SIOUX FALLS, S.D., March 11 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Raven Industries, Inc. (Nasdaq: RAVN) today announced its performance for the three months and fiscal year ended January 31, 2010. Lower sales reflected weaker economic conditions in Raven's markets. However, cost reductions and operating efficiencies led to improved profitability. In the fourth quarter, the Company produced a 25 percent increase in net income on 7 percent lower sales. Earnings per diluted share in the fourth quarter increased to 32 cents compared with 26 cents in the prior year period.
For the full year, sales were down 15 percent to $237.8 million from a record $279.9 million in fiscal 2009. This reflected lower revenues at the Applied Technology and Engineered Films divisions and slight increases at Electronic Systems and Aerostar. Net income decreased 7 percent to $28.6 million, or $1.58 per diluted share, compared with the year-ago record of $30.8 million, or $1.70 per diluted share. Return on sales improved to 12.0 percent from 11.0 percent.
"Raven had a good year, but not a record year as our markets deteriorated," said Ronald M. Moquist, chief executive officer. "However, we responded quickly in the face of this situation. Cuts were made and spending was aggressively managed. Things under our control, such as efficiency, productivity and quality, showed significant improvement. While we operated in a more defensive mode, we did make new investments in selected growth opportunities."
For the fourth quarter, sales of $55.8 million decreased 7 percent from $59.9 million for the year-ago period. While net income in the previous year's fourth quarter was hurt by losses in Engineered Films, their rapid response to the recession returned the division to profitability. As a result, consolidated net income for the latest three months increased 25 percent to $5.8 million, from $4.7 million.Applied Technology Invests in Long-term Growth Annual revenues for the Applied Technology Division, at $86.2 million compared with the fiscal 2009 record of $103.1 million, showed a 16 percent decline. Operating income was off 24 percent, to $25.7 million, compared with $33.9 million for the prior year. For the fourth quarter, sales were $17.3 million versus $19.6 million, or a 12 percent decrease. Operating income in the latest quarter was down 21 percent to $4.1 million from $5.3 million. High input costs, combined with lower commodity prices, reduced profits for many American growers. Caution about equipment purchases reduced sales in this division. While revenues from international markets were also down for the year, they increased 17 percent in the fourth quarter—reaching 20 percent of division annual sales versus 18 percent a year ago.