(*) The prior year EPS amounts reflect the impact of last year's two-for-one stock split.
"Our first quarter sales and EPS were consistent with the updated outlook we announced in late October," said Bill�Cook, Chairman, President and CEO. "While we finished FY12 very strong, we saw conditions at many of our Customers decelerate in September and October. Incoming orders from our Engine OEM and Disk Drive Customers decreased as they lowered their production schedules to deal with declining end market demand and to also reduce their inventory levels. Utilization of on-road and off-road equipment also weakened during this period, resulting in lower order rates for our replacement filters. Fortunately, our Gas Turbine Products business helped offset these weaker conditions with a 33 percent year-over-year sales increase. We expect our Gas Turbine project shipments to continue increasing in our second and third quarters. Finally, foreign currency translation decreased our sales by almost 3 percent due to the stronger US dollar versus last year. Excluding the foreign exchange impact, sales decreased less than 1 percent in the quarter."
"Our operating margin was 12.5 percent due to lower fixed cost absorption and a mix shift to large Gas Turbine project shipments. We were able to partially offset these with our Continuous Improvement initiatives. Looking forward, we have initiated actions which will better align our manufacturing and operating expenses with our expected Customer demand."
"We see the current downturn as short-term primarily due to high levels of global uncertainty. We expect to return to year-over-year growth in our second quarter. A continuing benefit of our diversified portfolio of filtration businesses around the world is that regions including Latin America, South Africa, and Australia, and product groups like Gas Turbine and Integrated Venting Solutions, are all projecting strong growth. As a result, we are forecasting our Company's full-year sales to increase 0 to 4 percent, and our FY13 EPS forecast is between $1.68 and $1.88 per share."
Financial Statement Discussion
The impact of foreign currency translation decreased sales by $16.9 million, or 2.8 percent, during the first quarter compared to the same period last year. The impact of foreign currency translation decreased reported net earnings by $1.3 million, or 1.9 percent, compared to the prior year.
Gross margin was 33.7 percent, compared to 35.3 percent in last year's first quarter. The year-over-year decrease is primarily attributable to lower fixed cost absorption due to the decrease in our production volumes and the mix impact due to large Gas Turbine project shipments. These were partially offset by the benefits from our ongoing Continuous Improvement initiatives.
Operating expenses for the quarter were $124.8 million, approximately even with last year's $124.6 million. As a percent of sales, operating expenses were 21.2 percent compared to last year's 20.5 percent. Our cost containment actions helped offset higher pension expense and incremental expenses related to our strategic business systems projects.
Our effective tax rate for the quarter was 29.4 percent, compared to a prior year rate of 25.5 percent. The prior year's quarter included tax benefits primarily due to favorable settlements of tax audits of $4.3 million.
As part of our ongoing share repurchase program we repurchased 1,500,000 shares, or 1.0 percent of our diluted outstanding shares, for $50.7 million during the quarter.
We continue to forecast full-year sales growth as strong Gas Turbine project shipments in the next two quarters and improving demand for replacement filters are anticipated to offset weaker demand from our Engine OEM and Disk Drive Customers.
Engine Products: We forecast FY13 sales to be equal to FY12, including the negative impact of foreign currency.
Industrial Products: We forecast sales to increase 4 to 10 percent over FY12, including the negative impact of foreign currency.
About Donaldson Company
Donaldson is a leading worldwide provider of filtration systems that improve people's lives, enhance our Customers' equipment performance, and protect our environment. We are a technology-driven Company committed to satisfying our Customers' needs for filtration solutions through innovative research and development, application expertise, and global presence. Our approximately 13,000 employees contribute to the Company's success by supporting our Customers at our more than 100 sales, manufacturing, and distribution locations around the world.
Donaldson is a member of the S&P MidCap 400 and Russell 1000 indices, and our shares trade on the NYSE under the symbol DCI. Additional information is available at www.donaldson.com.
SAFE HARBOR STATEMENT UNDER THE SECURITIES REFORM ACT OF 1995
The Company desires to take advantage of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (the "Act") and is making this cautionary statement in connection with such safe harbor legislation. This announcement contains forward-looking statements, including forecasts, plans, and projections relating to our business and financial performance and global economic conditions, which involve uncertainties that could materially impact results.
The Company wishes to caution investors that any forward-looking statements are subject to uncertainties and other risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from such statements, including but not limited to risks associated with: world economic factors and the ongoing economic uncertainty, the reduced demand for hard disk drive products with the increased use of flash memory, the potential for some Customers to increase their reliance on their own filtration capabilities, currency fluctuations, commodity prices, political factors, the Company's international operations, highly competitive markets, governmental laws and regulations, including the impact of the various economic stimulus and financial reform measures, the implementation of our new information technology systems, potential global events resulting in market instability including financial bailouts and defaults of sovereign nations, military and terrorist activities, health outbreaks, natural disasters, and other factors included in our Annual and Quarterly Reports. We undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
(*) Prior year shares and per share amounts reflect the impact of the Company's two-for-one stock split that occurred during the third quarter of Fiscal 2012.
Adjustments to reconcile net earnings to net cash provided by operating activities:
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash
Increase/(Decrease) in cash and cash equivalents
Cash and cash equivalents - beginning of year
Cash and cash equivalents - end of period
RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP FINANCIAL MEASURES
Although free cash flow, EBITDA, net sales excluding foreign currency translation, and net earnings excluding foreign currency translation are not measures of financial performance under GAAP, the Company believes they are useful in understanding its financial results. Free cash flow is a commonly used measure of a company's ability to generate cash in excess of its operating needs. EBITDA is a commonly used measure of operating earnings less non-cash expenses. Both net sales and net earnings excluding foreign currency translation provide a comparable measure for understanding the operating results of the company's foreign entities excluding the impact of foreign exchange. A shortcoming of these financial measures is that they do not reflect the company's actual results under GAAP. Management does not intend these items to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for the related GAAP measures.