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Sherwin-Williams Boosts Guidance

The company says its operating performance is improving.
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(SHW) - Get Sherwin-Williams Company Report

boosted fourth-quarter earnings guidance, citing stronger-than-expected sales.

The Cleveland-based paint company said it expects to make 54 cents a share for the quarter ended Dec. 31, compared with the 45 cents a share the company forecast back on Oct. 25. The company cited a 19-cent-a-share gain from its improved operating performance, partly offset by a dime-a-share asset-impairment charge.

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Sherwin-Williams said sales rose 14% from a year ago for the quarter, besting expectations for a mid-single digit increase. The effect of acquisitions on sales was negligible in the fourth quarter. On a preliminary basis, gross margin fell to 42.5% in the full year 2005 from 44.2% in 2004, due primarily to raw material cost increases and asset impairment charge partially offset by price increases and better factory utilization resulting from higher volume.

The fourth-quarter asset impairment charge was due to an anticipated reduction in the company's business at a major retailer beginning in 2006.

Early Tuesday, shares of Sherwin-Williams rose $1.88 to $47.89.