Corporate and Income Taxes
Corporate expenses for the second quarter of fiscal 2013 were $7.4 million, $0.5 million below the comparable prior year period due primarily to lower incentive compensation provisions. The effective income tax rate for the quarter was lower than the prior year, but up sequentially, reflecting the extension of the US R&D tax credit, the impact of a reduced statutory tax rate on a deferred tax liability balance, as well as tax planning benefits.
Net debt at February 28, 2013 was $304 million (total debt of $395 million less $91 million of cash); approximately $24 million below the prior quarter end and the lowest level in the past five years. Essentially all of Actuant’s second quarter cash flow was used to reduce net debt. Common stock repurchases during the quarter amounted to fewer than 0.1 million shares, or approximately $2 million. At February 28, 2013, the Company had a net debt to EBITDA leverage ratio of 1.1, and its entire $600 million revolver available.
Commenting on Actuant’s outlook, Arzbaecher stated, “When we initially provided our fiscal 2013 guidance, we expected that our first half results would be lower than the prior year, with growth resuming in the back half. Now at the mid-point of the year, we believe we are at this inflection point with the most difficult comparisons behind us. We are seeing indications that market conditions have bottomed and are firming up in some areas, yet inconsistency and uncertainty also persist. As a result, we expect the demand improvement curve to be less steep and modestly pushed out further in calendar 2013 compared to our original expectations.
Given the current economic environment, our first half performance, and the divestiture of an approximate $7 million product line last week, we have modestly adjusted our full year sales and EPS guidance to $1.575-1.600 billion and $2.15- 2.25, respectively. We now expect full year core sales to decline 3 to 5% from the previous negative 1 to 3%. We also expect headwind from the weaker British Pound. Despite modestly weaker than anticipated core sales growth, we expect to continue to be able to manage costs effectively and deliver EPS growth in line with expectations. We are still targeting full year free cash flow of approximately $200 million, but recognize it will be more of a challenge than previously anticipated.