MILWAUKEE, April 14-- Benefiting from strong demand in its major electric motor markets and the continued international expansion of its water heater business, A.O. Smith Corporation (NYSE: AOS)(AMEX: SMC) today announced first quarter earnings from continuing operations of $14.2 million or $.60 per share.
Earnings were 20 percent higher than the $12.0 million or $.50 per share earned in the first quarter of 1999. First quarter sales from continuing operations increased more than 45 percent to $335.0 million compared with $229.9 million for the same period last year. First quarter 2000 results include sales and profits from the former MagneTek electric motor operations acquired in August of last year.
For the quarter ended March 31, the Electric Motor Technologies platform reported sales of $247.9 million, more than 67 percent higher than first-quarter 1999 sales of $147.9 million. The former MagneTek motor operations contributed approximately $90 million in first-quarter sales. The base motor business grew seven percent, positively influenced by strong customer demand in its heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC), pump, and garage door opener markets.
Operating profits increased substantially due to higher volumes as well as favorable factory performance throughout the operation. Electric Motor Technologies continues on schedule integrating the former MagneTek motors operations into the business.
Sales of Water Systems Technologies, a leading manufacturer of commercial and residential water heaters, increased more than six percent in the first quarter to $87.2 million, with strength in the international and water systems tank segments of the business. The combination of sales growth and good plant performance enabled operating profits to increase more than 11 percent compared with the first quarter of 1999.
"Concerning our discontinued Storage & Fluid Handling Technologies platform, the sale process is going well, and we remain confident we will conclude the sale of these two businesses by the end of the third quarter of this year," Robert J. O'Toole, chairman and chief executive officer, said.
"The outlook for the remainder of 2000 looks very positive," O'Toole continued. "The continued expansion of the domestic economy is creating strong demand for motors and water heaters. Consequently, we are comfortable with analysts' earnings estimates of around $2.50 per share this year."
A.O. Smith Corporation has scheduled a conference call to discuss first quarter results for 9:30 a.m. (C.D.T.) on April 14. A live webcast of the conference call will be available on its corporate site: http://www.aosmith.com . An audio archive will be available approximately one hour after the call.
A.O. Smith Corporation, with headquarters in Milwaukee, Wis., is a leading marketer and manufacturer of electric motors and water heaters, serving customers world wide. It is one of North America's largest manufacturers of electric motors, with a comprehensive line of fractional horsepower, integral horsepower, and hermetic motors. The company also is North America's largest manufacturer of commercial water heating equipment and a leading supplier of residential water heaters and hydronic boilers. The company has facilities in the United States, Mexico, Canada, England, Ireland, Hungary, the Netherlands, and China and employs more than 15,000 people.
Certain statements in this report are "forward-looking statements." These forward-looking statements can generally be identified as such because the context of the statement will include words such as the company "believes," "anticipates," "expects," "projects," or words of similar import.
Although the company believes that its expectations are based upon reasonable assumptions within the bounds of its knowledge of its business, there can be no assurance that its financial goals will be realized. Although a significant portion of the company's sales are derived from the replacement of previously installed product, and such sales are therefore less volatile, numerous factors may affect actual results and cause results to differ materially from those expressed in forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of, the company. The company considers most important among such factors, the stability in its electric motor and water products markets, the timely and proper integration of the MagneTek motors acquisition, and the implementation of associated cost reduction programs.
All subsequent written and oral forward-looking statements attributable to the company, or persons acting on its behalf, are expressly qualified in their entirety by these cautionary statements.