The unit volume of wheels shipped increased 11 percent, while the average unit selling price decreased 3 percent to $65.58 per wheel in the current year period from $67.81 per wheel in the first quarter of 2011. A change in average aluminum price, which generally is passed through to customers, along with weakening of the Mexican Peso, were the primary drivers of the 3 percent decrease in the average selling price of the company’s products. The increase in unit sales volume caused the company to continue to operate at full capacity during the quarter to meet customer demand, and as a result, incur higher levels of manufacturing cost. While higher labor expense in the 2012 first quarter also reflected the increase in unit volume when compared with the first quarter of last year, productivity measured in terms of wheels produced per labor hour improved.
Selling, general and administrative expenses for the 2012 first quarter increased $200,000 to $6.9 million, or 3 percent of net sales, from $6.7 million, or 4 percent of net sales, for the comparable period in 2011. The 2012 period included increases in certain professional fees and depreciation expense, somewhat offset by lower labor and fringe benefit costs.
Income from operations for both the first quarter of 2012 and 2011 was $10.2 million, or 5 percent of net sales, for each period.
The income tax provision for the first quarter of 2012 was $4.1 million, or 38 percent of pretax income, versus $3.1 million, or 28 percent of pretax income, for the prior year comparable period. The 2012 effective tax rate was unfavorably affected by the impact of changes in liabilities for uncertain tax positions, partially offset by favorable impacts of foreign income taxed at rates other than the statutory rate and foreign tax credits.Balance Sheet At March 25, 2012, working capital was $342.4 million, including cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $198.0 million. At December 31, 2011, working capital was $335.7 million, including cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments of $192.9 million. Superior has no bank or other interest bearing debt.