NEW HAMPTON, N.Y., Feb. 27, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Balchem Corporation (Nasdaq:BCPC) reported as follows (unaudited) for the period ended December 31, 2013.
($000 Omitted Except for Net Earnings per Share)
For the Three Months Ended December 31,
  2013 2012
 Net sales  $ 81,633 $ 80,060
 Gross margin 23,782 22,399
 Operating expenses 7,637 7,362
 Earnings from operations  16,145 15,037
 Interest and other income, net  68 70
 Earnings before income tax expense 16,213 15,107
 Income tax expense  5,466 5,215
 Net earnings  $ 10,747 $ 9,892
 Diluted net earnings per common share  $ 0.35 $ 0.33
Shares used in the calculation of diluted net earnings per common share 31,028 30,391
For the Twelve Months Ended December 31,
  2013 2012
 Net sales  $ 337,173 $ 310,393
 Gross margin 97,421 89,539
 Operating expenses 31,819 29,762
 Earnings from operations  65,602 59,777
 Interest and other income, net 216 67
 Earnings before income tax expense 65,818 59,844
 Income tax expense  20,944 19,839
 Net earnings  $ 44,874 $ 40,005
 Diluted net earnings per common share  $ 1.45 $ 1.32
Shares used in the calculation of diluted net earnings per common share 30,847 30,353

Record Quarterly Sales and Net Earnings

For the quarter ended December 31, 2013, the company achieved record fourth quarter sales of $81.6 million, which is an increase of approximately 2.0% above the $80.1 million result of the prior year comparative quarter. Also, record quarterly net earnings were achieved of $10.7 million, an increase of $0.9 million, or 8.6% as compared with the same period last year. The $10.7 million generated diluted net earnings of $0.35 per common share versus $0.33 per common share for the prior year comparable period, an increase of 6.1%.

The ANH segment, including specialties, choline and industrial derivative products, realized sales of $56.9 million, an increase of approximately 1.0%, or $0.5 million over the prior year comparable quarter. The ANH specialty ingredients sector, largely targeted to the ruminant animal markets, realized an approximately 12.8% sales increase from the prior year comparable quarter. This increase was led principally by strong double-digit volume growth of ReaShure ®, NitroShure and AminoShure ®.  Milk prices remained favorable in the quarter. With current lower feedstuff prices and continued strong demand in the U.S. and export markets, our 2014 outlook for these products remains favorable.

On the monogastric specie market, our global feed grade choline product sales were down 2.3% from the prior year comparable quarter. The principal reason for this modest decline was due to avian flu issues affecting poultry production in China and Mexico, leading to aggressive competitive pricing in certain international markets.

Sales of industrial grade products were down approximately 1.7% from the prior year comparable quarter due to a number of variables, principally a result of lower sales of methylamines and other specialty industrial products produced and sold from our Italian operation. Sales of industrial grade products produced and sold in North America, including those for fracking remained solid in the quarter, but growth was impacted by the severe cold weather which swept across the United States, slowing drilling and fracking. The previously noted growth of this market and our success in this space continues to attract competition from off-shore producers, which also impacted growth in the quarter.

With these noted fluctuations of sector sales, earnings from operations for the entire ANH segment increased approximately 14.9% to $8.3 million as compared to $7.2 million in the prior year comparable quarter. This quarterly earnings result reflects continuing raw material cost pressures, but was offset by certain favorable operating efficiencies and product mix.

The ARC Specialty Products ("ARC") segment generated fourth quarter sales of $12.7 million, a decrease of approximately 2.2% from the comparable prior year quarter. This decrease was principally the result of relatively minor declines in volumes sold of ethylene oxide products due to continued softness in hospital admissions/operations as uncertainty about the Affordable Care Act persists and propylene oxide for synthesis and nutmeat fumigation due to delayed harvest of certain nutmeats, but does reflect a 2.3% improvement sequentially from the third quarter 2013.  Earnings from operations for this segment, at $5.2 million, declined from the prior year comparable quarter principally due to higher raw material costs and increased operating expenses particularly for developmental opportunities based on our existing products.

Sales of the Food, Pharma & Nutrition ("FPN") segment were $12.1 million, an increase of 13.2% from the comparable prior year quarter. In the quarter, we realized double-digit growth in sales of both our human choline products for nutritional enhancement as well as in our North American and International food sector where sales of encapsulated ingredients for the baking and food preservation end markets remain strong. Earnings from operations for this segment, increased 15.3% to $2.7 million, versus $2.3 million in the prior year comparable quarter, largely due to increases in sales volumes.

Consolidated gross margin for the quarter ended December 31, 2013 increased 6.2% to $23.8 million, as compared to $22.4 million for the prior year comparable period. Gross margin percentage for the three months ended December 31, 2013 increased to 29.1% as compared to 28.0% in the prior year comparative period, primarily due to a more favorable product mix. For the year, our consolidated gross margin was 28.9%, up slightly over our 2012 result. Operating (Selling, Research & Development, General & Administrative) expenses at $7.6 million for the fourth quarter were up 3.7% from the prior year comparable quarter principally due to costs relating to personnel expenses, including recruiting and relocation, additional Research & Development and legal expenses.  Our effective tax rate for the three months ended December 31, 2013 and 2012 was 33.7% and 34.5%, respectively. This decrease in the effective tax rate is primarily attributable to the timing of certain tax credits and deductions.

The Company continues to maintain and grow a solid financial structure. Net working capital of $242 million at December 31, 2013 included a cash balance of $209 million, up from $145 million at December 31, 2012, no long-term debt, and reflects $8.2 million of capital expenditures in 2013.

Commenting further, Dino A. Rossi, Chairman, CEO and President of Balchem said, "We concluded the year with new quarterly records in both revenue and earnings, achieving record annual results in line with our expectations. Certain sectors of the segments continued to grow at double-digit rates, and even though more modest growth rates were realized in the industrial markets this quarter, margin percentage improvement occurred due to certain manufacturing efficiencies and the portfolio product mix.

We do expect each of the markets served to continue to grow organically in 2014 and to execute on our strategy to strengthen the business portfolio and geographies served through acquisition(s)."

Quarterly Conference Call

A quarterly conference call will be held on Thursday, February 27, 2014, at 11:00 AM Eastern Time (ET) to review fourth quarter 2013 results. Dino A. Rossi, Chairman, CEO and President, and Frank Fitzpatrick, Chief Financial Officer, will host the call. We invite you to listen to the conference by calling toll-free 1-877-407-8289 (local dial-in 1-201-689-8341), five minutes prior to the scheduled start time of the conference call. The conference call will be available for digital replay two hours after the conclusion of the call through end of day Friday, March 14, 2014. To access the replay of the conference call, dial 1-877-660-6853 (local dial-in 1-201-612-7415), and use conference ID #13576322.

Segment Information

Balchem Corporation consists of three business segments: ARC Specialty Products; Food, Pharma & Nutrition; and Animal Nutrition & Health. Through ARC Specialty Products, Balchem provides specialty-packaged chemicals for use in healthcare and other industries. The Food, Pharma & Nutrition segment provides proprietary microencapsulation solutions to a variety of applications in the human food, pharmaceutical and nutrition marketplaces. The Animal Nutrition & Health segment manufactures and supplies products to numerous animal health markets and certain derivative products into industrial applications.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release contains forward-looking statements, which reflect Balchem's expectation or belief concerning future events that involve risks and uncertainties. Balchem can give no assurance that the expectations reflected in forward-looking statements will prove correct and various factors could cause results to differ materially from Balchem's expectations, including risks and factors identified in Balchem's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012. Forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by the above cautionary statement. Balchem assumes no duty to update its outlook or other forward-looking statements as of any future date.
Selected Financial Data
($ in 000's)
Business Segment Net Sales:
   Three Months Ended  Twelve Months Ended
   December 31,  December 31,
   2013 2012 2013 2012
ARC Specialty Products $ 12,667  $ 12,958  $ 51,086  $ 49,990
Food, Pharma & Nutrition 12,067  10,664  47,569  44,070
Animal Nutrition & Health 56,899  56,438 238,518 216,333
Total $ 81,633  $ 80,060 $ 337,173 $ 310,393
Business Segment Earnings:
  Three Months Ended Twelve Months Ended
  December 31, December 31,
  2013 2012 2013 2012
ARC Specialty Products  $ 5,188  $ 5,509 $ 20,224 $ 20,332
Food, Pharma & Nutrition  2,697  2,339 11,233 11,335
Animal Nutrition & Health  8,260  7,189 34,145 28,110
Interest and other income, net   68  70   216  67
Total $ 16,213 $ 15,107 $ 65,818 $ 59,844

Selected Balance Sheet Items    
  December 31, December 31,
  2013 2012
Cash and Cash Equivalents  $ 208,747 $  144,737
Accounts Receivable, net  39,386 41,999
Inventories  24,824  20,693
Other Current Assets 4,817 4,480
Total Current Assets 277,774 211,909
Property, Plant, & Equipment, net 54,916 52,725
Other Assets 44,182 47,911
Total Assets $ 376,872 $ 312,545
Current Liabilities $ 35,753 $ 30,234
Long-Term Obligations 9,761 9,299
Total Liabilities 45,514 39,533
Stockholders' Equity 331,358 273,012
Total Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity $ 376,872 $ 312,545
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
Years Ended December 31, 2013 and 2012
(In thousands)
  2013 2012
Cash flows from operating activities:    
Net earnings  $ 44,874  $ 40,005
Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to    
net cash provided by operating activities:    
Depreciation and amortization  10,474  9,641
Stock compensation expense  3,817  3,906
Shares issued under employee benefit plans  --   311
Deferred income taxes   (315)  (92)
Provision for (recovery of) doubtful accounts   --   57
Foreign currency transaction loss   92  88
Changes in assets and liabilities    
Accounts receivable  2,958  (7,642)
Inventories  (3,942)  (1,979)
Prepaid expenses and other current assets  495  (387)
Accounts payable and accrued expenses  (2,770)  5,775
Income taxes  (620)  3,890
Other   629  208
Net cash provided by operating activities  55,692  53,781
Cash flows from investing activities:    
Capital expenditures  (8,187)  (13,883)
Proceeds from sale of property, plant and equipment  40  -- 
Intangible assets acquired  (230)  (121)
Net cash used in investing activities  (8,377)  (14,004)
Cash flows from financing activities:    
Proceeds from long-term debt  --   178
Principal payments on long-term debt  --   (1,386)
Repayments of short-term obligations  (89)  -- 
Proceeds from stock options exercised  9,082  1,905
Excess tax benefits from stock compensation  9,397  2,862
Dividends paid  --   (11,703)
Purchase of treasury stock   (1,925)  (1,699)
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities  16,465  (9,843)
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash  230  22
Increase in cash and cash equivalents  64,010  29,956
Cash and cash equivalents beginning of period  144,737  114,781
Cash and cash equivalents end of period  $ 208,747  $ 144,737
CONTACT: Karin McCaffery, Balchem Corporation         Telephone: 845-326-5600