HNI Net Rises 25%

It is ahead of estimates.
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fourth-quarter earnings rose 25% from a year ago, helped by strong volume from office furniture business and lower steel and other material prices.

The company earned $35.75 million, or 67 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $28.6 million, or 51 cents a share, a year ago. Earnings include net pretax restructuring charges and accelerated depreciation of $2.8 million, or about 3 cents a share, due to plant closures and consolidations. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 63 cents a share.

The Muscatine, Iowa-based manufacturer of office furniture and hearth products registered a 20.92% rise in revenue from last year to $661.86 million, higher than the Wall Street consensus estimate of $616.4 million.

HNI said that it expects strong organic sales growth in the fiscal first quarter 2006, but not as strong as in the year-ago period.

Revenue from office furniture rose 23.7% from last year to $495.55 million. Revenue from hearth products rose 13.4% to $166.3 million.

Gross profit increased 25.61% to $241.55 million in the fourth quarter while gross profit margin rose 136 basis points to 36.5%, primarily due to price realization, strong volume and moderation of steel and other material prices, HNI said.

"We experienced especially strong organic growth across our multiple companies and multiple brands," the company said.

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