Tennant Company (NYSE: TNC), a world leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing of solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world, today reported net earnings of $11.3 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, on net sales of $193.2 million for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011. In the 2010 fourth quarter, Tennant reported net earnings of $17.0 million, or $0.88 per diluted share, on net sales of $182.8 million. Results in the 2010 fourth quarter included net special benefits of $0.48 per diluted share, primarily related to tax benefits from an international entity restructuring. Excluding special benefits, adjusted 2010 fourth quarter earnings totaled $0.40 per diluted share. (See the Supplemental Non-GAAP Financial Table.)
“We are pleased to report record fourth quarter sales, which resulted in 48 percent growth in adjusted diluted earnings per share compared to the prior year quarter,” said Chris Killingstad, Tennant Company's president and chief executive officer. “Tennant’s robust financial performance was driven in part by strong sales of industrial equipment in the Americas region and increased global sales of scrubbers equipped with our sustainable, water-based ec-H2O
Scrubbers equipped with Tennant’s ec-H2O technology again posted double-digit sales gains, growing approximately 22 percent in the 2011 fourth quarter compared to the prior year quarter. For the 2011 full year, sales of ec-H2O equipped scrubbers rose approximately 46 percent to $140 million, up from $96 million in 2010.
Commented Killingstad: “Our full year sales of scrubbers equipped with ec-H2O hit the top end of our stated revenue range for the year, demonstrating that this technology continues to be widely adopted by customers around the world. As a result, ec-H2O sales were a key contributor to Tennant’s 13 percent revenue increase for the 2011 full year versus 2010.”
Fourth Quarter Operating Review
Tennant’s consolidated net sales grew 5.7 percent to $193.2 million in the 2011 fourth quarter versus $182.8 million for the 2010 fourth quarter. Overall, foreign currency exchange effects were essentially flat compared to the prior year period. Organic net sales, which exclude acquisitions and foreign currency impact, increased approximately 9.5 percent in Tennant's Americas region, with strong sales of scrubbers equipped with ec-H2O in North America and increased sales of industrial equipment in Latin America. Organic sales growth was approximately 0.5 percent in the Asia Pacific region, with strong growth in emerging markets partially offset by selling price decreases in some mature markets related to movements in foreign exchange rates. Organic sales in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region were essentially flat in the 2011 fourth quarter compared to the prior year quarter due primarily to slower sales of commercial equipment offsetting the sales growth of industrial products, primarily increased sales of large scrubbers equipped with ec-water technology.
Tennant’s gross margin in the 2011 fourth quarter rose to 43.2 percent, above the company’s target range of 42 percent to 43 percent, and up from 42.2 percent, or 42.6 percent as adjusted, in the 2010 fourth quarter. The higher gross margin was primarily driven by improvement in EMEA gross margins, as the company benefited from a more profitable product mix with increased sales of its Green Machines® sweepers, particularly the environmentally friendly lithium-ion battery-powered 500ze city cleaning sweeper. The company’s gross margins improved throughout 2011, starting with 41.7 percent in the first quarter and ending with 43.2 percent in the fourth quarter.