United Stationers Inc. (NASDAQ: USTR), a leading North American wholesale distributor of business products, today reported third quarter 2011 sales up 3.1% and adjusted earnings per share up 13% (1).

Third Quarter Financial Highlights
  • Net sales in the third quarter were $1.3 billion, up 3.1% from the prior-year quarter.
  • Diluted earnings per share were $0.81, compared with $0.77 in the prior-year quarter. The third quarter 2010 results included a favorable $0.05 per share for a $3.3 million non-cash pre-tax reversal of liabilities resulting from the termination of a post-retirement medical plan. After excluding this item from the prior year, diluted earnings per share for the third quarter of 2011 were up 13% (1), compared with an adjusted $0.72 (1) a year ago.
  • Gross margin in the third quarter of 2011 was up $4.9 million to $199.8 million, or 15.3% of sales, compared with $194.9 million, or 15.3% of sales, in last year’s third quarter.
  • Operating expenses in the quarter were $135.1 million, or 10.3% of sales, compared with $129.3 million, or 10.2% of sales in the prior-year quarter. Operating expenses as a percentage of sales in the third quarter of 2011 were favorable by 12 basis points compared with 10.4% (1) in the same period last year after excluding the medical plan adjustment mentioned above.
  • Operating income in the quarter was $64.6 million, or 4.9% of sales, compared with $65.5 million, or 5.2% of sales, in the year-ago quarter. Operating income in the 2011 quarter was up $2.4 million and operating margin was flat at 4.9%, compared with the prior-year quarter after adjusting for the medical plan adjustment mentioned above.
  • Net income was $35.8 million in 2011, compared with $36.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Third quarter 2011 net income was up $1.4 million (1), compared with the adjusted prior-year quarter of $34.4 million (1).
  • Year-to-date net cash provided by operating activities totaled $99.5 million versus $114.4 million last year.
  • Cash paid for share repurchases for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, totaled $137.7 million for 4.3 million shares. As of September 30, 2011, the company had $50 million remaining under its board of directors approved common stock repurchase program. On October 19, 2011, the board of directors approved a $0.13 per share dividend to shareholders of record on December 15, 2011 and payable on January 13, 2012.
  • In September 2011, the company closed a five-year $700 million Revolving Credit Facility.

“Our growth and customer initiatives continue to drive positive results, particularly in our janitorial/breakroom and industrial categories, in an economy that still does not have many bright spots,” said Cody Phipps, president and chief executive officer. “We are keeping a sharp focus on margins, operating costs and capital deployment to ensure a strong financial position in the current environment. At the same time, we continue to invest in the future, creating attractive long-term opportunities for the business.”

Third Quarter Performance

Sales in the third quarter of 2011 increased by 3.1% to $1.3 billion, compared with last year. Strong sales growth continued in the industrial supplies and janitorial/breakroom categories, which were up 23.7% and 10.6%, respectively, from last year. Office products, technology and furniture category sales were down 0.6%, 0.6% and 9.8%, respectively, versus the prior year. A significant portion of the furniture category decline was due to a sourcing shift in some national account business.

Gross margin in the third quarter of 2011, was up $4.9 million to $199.8 million, compared with $194.9 million for the same quarter a year ago. Gross margin as a percent of sales was 15.3%, flat compared to the prior-year quarter. Gross margin was negatively affected by ongoing competitive pricing pressures and higher fuel costs, while higher product cost inflation, higher inventory purchase-related supplier allowances and other inventory-related benefits helped to offset these items. In addition, ongoing War on Waste (WOW) initiatives positively contributed to gross margin.

Operating expenses for the latest quarter were $135.1 million or 10.3% of sales, compared with $129.3 million, or 10.2% of sales, in the same period last year. 2010 operating expenses included a non-cash $3.3 million favorable adjustment related to the termination of a post-retirement medical plan. Excluding this item, 2010 operating expenses were $132.6 million (1) or 10.4% (1) of sales. Continued investments in strategic growth initiatives, costs to support higher sales and higher bad debt costs in 2011 contributed to the increase in operating expenses. These cost increases were partially offset by lower depreciation, favorable resolution of non-income based tax liabilities and continued success with WOW efforts.

Operating income for the latest quarter was $64.6 million or 4.9% of sales, compared with $65.5 million, or 5.2% of sales in the same quarter last year. Excluding the medical plan adjustment referenced above, 2010 operating income was $62.2 million (1) or 4.9% (1) of sales.

Diluted earnings per share for the 2011 quarter were $0.81, compared with $0.77 in the year-ago quarter. Excluding the effect of the medical plan adjustment referenced above, last year’s diluted earnings per share were $0.72 (1).

Nine-Month Performance

Sales in the first nine months of 2011 were $3.8 billion, up 4.3%, led by double-digit increases in industrial supplies and in the janitorial/breakroom category and low single digit growth in the office products category. These increases were partially offset by lower furniture sales and a slight decrease in technology sales.

Gross margin for the first nine months of 2011 increased to $566.4 million or 14.9% of sales, compared with $541.0 million or 14.8% of sales, in the same prior-year period. The increase was due to sales growth, higher inventory purchase-related supplier allowances, greater product cost inflation, and other inventory-related items. These favorable items were partially offset by competitive pricing pressures and higher fuel costs.

Operating expenses in 2011 were $413.9 million or 10.9% of sales, which included a $4.4 million equity compensation charge as well as a $1.6 million asset impairment charge related to an equity investment. This compares to last year’s operating expenses of $389.3 million, or 10.7% of sales, which included a $6.1 million benefit from an accrual reversal for the termination of a post-retirement medical plan. Excluding these items, operating expenses in 2011 were $407.9 million (1) or 10.7% (1) of sales, compared with the prior year of $395.4 million (1) or 10.9% (1) of sales. Increased operating expense in 2011 supported strategic growth initiatives partially offset by lower variable management compensation costs, lower depreciation expense and continued WOW savings.

Operating income for the first nine months of 2011 was $152.4 million or 4.0% of sales, compared with $151.7 million, or 4.2% of sales in the prior-year period. Excluding the items mentioned above, operating income in 2011 was $158.5 million (1) or 4.2% (1) of sales, compared with $145.6 million (1) or 4.0% (1) of sales in the prior year.

Diluted earnings per share for the first nine months of 2011 were $1.77 versus $1.68 in the first nine months of 2010. Excluding the items mentioned above, diluted earnings per share for the first nine months of 2011 rose 17% to $1.87 (1), compared with $1.60 (1) in the prior-year period.

Cash Flow, Debt Trends and Share Repurchases

Net cash provided by operating activities totaled $99.5 million for the latest nine-month period versus cash provided of $114.4 million a year ago. This year’s cash flow was positively affected by a significant reduction in inventory offset by higher accounts receivable and lower accounts payable. Cash flow used in investing activities totaled $20.7 million in 2011, down from $33.4 million in the first nine months of 2010. Included in 2010 investing activities is $15.5 million related to an acquisition. Capital spending through the nine months ended September 30, 2011 was $20.7 million and is expected to be in the range of $25 million to $30 million for 2011.

In September 2011, the company closed a five-year $700 million Revolving Credit Facility. This facility replaced a $425 million revolver and $200 million term loan. Including the new facility, the company has total committed funding sources of approximately $940 million. As of September 30, 2011, the company had total debt outstanding of $489.7 million, compared with $441.8 million as of September 30, 2010. As of September 30, 2011 and 2010, debt-to-total capitalization was 40.4% and 37.6%, respectively. Through the first nine months of 2011, the company repurchased 4.3 million shares for $137.7 million, which was partially offset by $11.5 million of net proceeds received from share-based compensation arrangements. The company has $50 million remaining under its board of directors authorized common stock repurchase program.

Outlook

“We do not expect to see meaningful near-term improvements in the markets where we participate,” commented Phipps. “The economy is still challenged by high unemployment, low business and consumer confidence and slow growth. In this environment, we are focused on driving growth from our own actions and initiatives rather than waiting for conditions to improve. We are focused on executing our Winning-from-the-Middle strategy and are seeing very encouraging results in several areas, most notably from our industrial and janitorial/breakroom categories. We will keep our businesses healthy and profitable while we enhance shareholder value through earnings growth, dividends, and share repurchases.”

Conference Call

United Stationers will hold a conference call followed by a question and answer session on Tuesday, October 25, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. CDT, to discuss third quarter 2011 results. To participate, callers within the U.S. and Canada should dial (800) 264-7882, and international callers should dial (847) 413-3708 approximately 10 minutes before the presentation. The confirmation number is “30861712.” To listen to the webcast, participants should visit the Investor Information section of the company’s website at ir.unitedstationers.com several minutes before the event is broadcast and follow the instructions provided to ensure that the necessary audio application is downloaded and installed. This program is provided at no charge to the user. In addition, interested parties can access an archived version of the call, also located on the Investor Information section of United Stationers’ website, about two hours after the call ends. This news release, along with a financial slide presentation and other information relating to the call, also will be available on United’s website.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements, including references to goals, plans, strategies, objectives, projected costs or savings, anticipated future performance, results or events and other statements that are not strictly historical in nature. These statements are based on management’s current expectations, forecasts and assumptions. This means they involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied here. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to the following: prevailing economic conditions and changes affecting the business products industry and the general economy; United’s ability to effectively manage its operations and to implement growth, cost-reduction and margin-enhancement initiatives; United’s reliance on key customers, and the business, credit and other risks inherent in continuing or increased customer concentration; United’s reliance on key suppliers and the supplier allowances and promotional incentives they offer; United’s reliance on independent resellers for a significant percentage of its net sales and therefore the importance of the continued independence, viability and success of these resellers; continuing or increasing competitive activity and pricing pressures within existing or expanded product categories, including competition from product manufacturers who sell directly to United’s customers; the impact of variability in customer and end-user demand patterns on United’s product sales mix and, in turn, on profit margins; the impact of a loss of, or substantial decrease in, the availability of products or service from key suppliers at competitive prices; the availability of financing sources to meet United’s business needs; United’s ability to manage inventory in order to maximize sales and supplier allowances while minimizing excess and obsolete inventory; United’s ability to maintain its existing information technology and e-commerce systems and to successfully procure and implement new systems without business disruption or other unanticipated difficulties or costs; United’s ability to effectively identify, consummate and integrate acquisitions; United’s reliance on key management personnel, both in day-to-day operations and in execution of new business initiatives; and the effects of hurricanes, acts of terrorism and other natural or man-made disruptions.

Shareholders, potential investors and other readers are urged to consider these risks and uncertainties in evaluating forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements. For additional information about risks and uncertainties that could materially affect United’s results, please see the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The forward-looking information in this news release is made as of this date only, and the Company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement. Investors are advised to consult any further disclosure by United regarding the matters discussed in this release in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and in other written statements it makes from time to time. It is not possible to anticipate or foresee all risks and uncertainties, and investors should not consider any list of risks and uncertainties to be exhaustive or complete.

Company Overview

United Stationers Inc. is a leading wholesale distributor of business products, with 2010 net sales of approximately $4.8 billion. The company stocks approximately 100,000 items, including technology products, traditional office products, janitorial and breakroom supplies, office furniture, and industrial supplies. A network of 64 distribution centers allows it to deliver these products to over 25,000 reseller customers. This network, combined with United’s depth and breadth of inventory, enables the company to ship most products overnight to more than 90% of the U.S. and major cities in Mexico. For more information, visit www.unitedstationers.com.

United Stationers’ common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol USTR.

(1)This is non-GAAP information. A reconciliation of these items to the most comparable GAAP measures is presented at the end of this news release. Except as noted, all references within this news release to financial results are presented in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

- tables follow -
   
United Stationers Inc. and Subsidiaries
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income

(unaudited)

(in thousands, except per share data)
 
For the Three Months Ended For the Nine Months Ended
September 30, September 30,
2011   2010 2011   2010
 
Net sales $ 1,310,029 $ 1,270,701 $ 3,804,110 $ 3,645,769
Cost of goods sold   1,110,278   1,075,840   3,237,748   3,104,803
Gross profit 199,751 194,861 566,362 540,966
 
Operating expenses:

Warehousing, marketing andadministrative expenses
  135,117  

129,323
  413,917  

389,309
 
Operating income 64,634 65,538 152,445 151,657
 
Interest expense 6,972 6,637 20,094 19,302
 
Other expense   100   - -   410   - -
 
Income before income taxes 57,562 58,901 131,941 132,355
 
Income tax expense   21,783   22,431   50,879   50,658
 
Net income $ 35,779 $ 36,470 $ 81,062 $ 81,697
 
Net income per share - diluted $ 0.81 $ 0.77 $ 1.77 $ 1.68

Weighted average number ofcommon shares − diluted
  44,202  

47,548
  45,718  

 

48,624
   
United Stationers Inc. and Subsidiaries
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets

(dollars in thousands, except share data)
 
(audited)
(unaudited) As of
As of September 30, December 31,
2011   2010 2010
ASSETS
Current assets:
Cash and cash equivalents $ 10,489 $ 38,552 $ 21,301
Accounts receivable, net 699,174 655,075 628,119
Inventories 615,506 617,439 684,091
Other current assets   26,839     31,479     31,895  
Total current assets 1,352,008 1,342,545 1,365,406
 
Property, plant and equipment, net 127,078 129,431 135,301
Intangible assets 57,573 62,722 61,441
Goodwill 328,061 328,445 328,581
Other long-term assets   20,392     17,842     17,934  
Total assets $ 1,885,112   $ 1,880,985   $ 1,908,663  
 
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
Current liabilities:
Accounts payable $ 410,811 $ 424,883 $ 421,566
Accrued liabilities 174,325 186,328 186,387
Short-term debt   6,800     - -     6,800  
Total current liabilities 591,936 611,211 614,753
 
Deferred income taxes 21,059 6,115 14,053
Long-term debt 482,923 441,800 435,000
Other long-term liabilities   68,035     88,756     85,259  
Total liabilities 1,163,953 1,147,882 1,149,065
 
Stockholders' equity:
Common stock, $0.10 par value; authorized − 100,000,000shares, issued – 74,435,628 shares in 2011 and 2010 7,444

7,444

7,444
Additional paid-in capital 413,173 395,712 400,910
Treasury stock, at cost – 31,834,490 and 28,105,054shares at September 30, 2011 and 2010, respectively, and28,247,906 shares at December 31, 2010 (891,545 )

 

(760,756

 

)

 

(772,698

 

)
Retained earnings 1,230,656 1,136,049 1,167,109
Accumulated other comprehensive loss   (38,569 )   (45,346 )   (43,167 )
Total stockholders' equity   721,159     733,103     759,598  
Total liabilities and stockholders' equity $ 1,885,112   $ 1,880,985   $ 1,908,663  
 
United Stationers Inc. and Subsidiaries
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows

(unaudited) (in thousands)
 
For the Nine Months Ended
September 30,
2011   2010
Cash Flows From Operating Activities:
Net income $ 81,062 $ 81,697
Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by
operating activities:
Depreciation and amortization 25,822 27,647
Share-based compensation 13,072 10,455
Loss on the disposition of plant, property and equipment 28 49
Impairment of equity investment 1,635 - -
Amortization of capitalized financing costs 728 551
Excess tax benefits related to share-based compensation (3,397 ) (3,606 )
Deferred income taxes 4,387 5,813
Changes in operating assets and liabilities, excluding the effect of acquisitions:
Increase in accounts receivable, net (71,662 ) (13,141 )
Decrease (increase) in inventory 67,747 (25,594 )
Decrease (increase) in other assets 2,879 (2,036 )
Increase in accounts payable 12,135 86,522
Decrease in checks in-transit (23,232 ) (53,007 )
(Decrease) increase in accrued liabilities (5,346 ) 10,868
Decrease in other liabilities   (6,369 )   (11,861 )
Net cash provided by operating activities 99,489 114,357
Cash Flows From Investing Activities:
Capital expenditures (20,786 ) (17,967 )
Acquisitions, net of cash acquired - - (15,527 )
Proceeds from the disposition of property, plant and equipment   62     58  
Net cash used in investing activities (20,724 ) (33,436 )
Cash Flows From Financing Activities:
Net borrowings under Revolving Credit Facility 77,923 - -
Repayment of debt (370,000 ) - -
Proceeds from the issuance of debt 340,000 - -
Net proceeds from share-based compensation arrangements 11,486 24,899
Acquisition of treasury stock, at cost (137,669 ) (89,355 )

Payment of cash dividends
(11,955 ) - -
Excess tax benefits related to share-based compensation 3,397 3,606
Payment of debt fees and other   (2,727 )   (99 )
Net cash used in financing activities   (89,545 )   (60,949 )
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents   (32 )   25  
Net change in cash and cash equivalents (10,812 ) 19,997
Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period   21,301     18,555  
Cash and cash equivalents, end of period $ 10,489   $ 38,552  
 
United Stationers Inc. and Subsidiaries
Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Adjusted Operating Income, Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

(unaudited)

(in thousands, except per share data)
 
For the Three Months Ended September 30,
2011   2010
% to % to
Amount Net Sales Amount Net Sales
 
Net sales $ 1,310,029 100.00 % $ 1,270,701 100.00 %
 
Gross profit $ 199,751 15.25 % $ 194,861 15.33 %
 
Operating expenses $ 135,117 10.32 % $ 129,323 10.18 %
Post-retirement medical plan termination   - - - -   3,315 0.26
Adjusted operating expenses $ 135,117 10.32 % $ 132,638 10.44 %
 
Operating income $ 64,634 4.93 % $ 65,538 5.15 %
Operating expense item noted above - - - - (3,315 ) (0.26 )%
Adjusted operating income $ 64,634 4.93 % $ 62,223 4.89 %
 
Net income $ 35,779 $ 36,470
Operating expense item noted above, net of tax - - (2,053 )
Adjusted net income $ 35,779 $ 34,417
 
Diluted earnings per share $ 0.81 $ 0.77
Per share operating expense item noted above - - (0.05 )
Adjusted diluted earnings per share $ 0.81 $ 0.72
 
Adjusted diluted earnings per share — growth rate over the prior year period 13 %
 
Weighted average number ofcommon shares — diluted 44,202 47,548

Note: Adjusted Operating Expenses, Operating Income, Net Income and Earnings Per Share in the third quarter of 2010 exclude the effects of terminating a post-retirement medical plan. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles require that the effects of this item be included in the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income. Management believes that excluding this item results in an appropriate comparison of the Company’s ongoing operating results. It is helpful to provide readers of the financial statements with a reconciliation of this item to the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income reported in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.
 
United Stationers Inc. and Subsidiaries
Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
Adjusted Operating Income, Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share

(unaudited)

(in thousands, except per share data)
 
For the Nine Months Ended September 30,
2011   2010
% to % to
Amount Net Sales Amount Net Sales
 
Net sales $ 3,804,110 100.00 % $ 3,645,769 100.00 %
 
Gross profit $ 566,362 14.89 % $ 540,966 14.84 %
 
Operating expenses $ 413,917 10.88 % $ 389,309 10.68 %
Equity compensation – CEO transition (4,409 ) (0.12 )% - - - -
Asset impairment charge (1,635 ) (0.04 )% - - - -
Post-retirement medical plan termination   - - - -   6,077 0.17 %
Adjusted operating expenses $ 407,873 10.72 % $ 395,386 10.85 %
 
Operating income $ 152,445 4.01 % $ 151,657 4.16 %
Operating expense item noted above 6,044 0.16 % (6,077 ) (0.17 )%
Adjusted operating income $ 158,489 4.17 % $ 145,580 3.99 %
 
Net income $ 81,062 $ 81,697
Operating expense item noted above, net tax 4,367 (3,754 )
Adjusted net income $ 85,429 $ 77,943
 
Diluted earnings per share $ 1.77 $ 1.68
Per share operating expense item noted above 0.10 (0.08 )
Adjusted diluted earnings per share $ 1.87 $ 1.60
 
Adjusted diluted earnings per share — growth rate over the prior year period 17 %
 
Weighted average number ofcommon shares — diluted 45,718 48,624

Note: Adjusted Operating Expenses, Operating Income, Net Income and Earnings Per Share for the nine months ended September 30, 2011, exclude the effects of an equity compensation charge related to a transition agreement with the former chief executive officer and a non-deductible asset impairment charge. In addition, the results for the nine months ended September 30, 2010, were adjusted to exclude the effects of terminating a post-retirement medical plan. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles require that the effects of this item be included in the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income. Management believes that excluding these items results in an appropriate comparison of the Company’s ongoing operating results. It is helpful to provide readers of the financial statements with a reconciliation of these items to the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income reported in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

Copyright Business Wire 2010

If you liked this article you might like

Insider Trading Alert - LXU, MS And USTR Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - LXU, MS And USTR Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - HAFC, AMRI And USTR Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - HAFC, AMRI And USTR Traded By Insiders

Wednesday's Ex-Dividends To Watch: VPV, JPI, USTR

Wednesday's Ex-Dividends To Watch: VPV, JPI, USTR

Insider Trading Alert - USTR, HTA, ARW, INT And ULTI Traded By Insiders

Insider Trading Alert - USTR, HTA, ARW, INT And ULTI Traded By Insiders

USTR, TECD, IM And BECN, 4 Wholesale Stocks Pushing The Industry Lower

USTR, TECD, IM And BECN, 4 Wholesale Stocks Pushing The Industry Lower