Stella-Jones’ income up 26%
Mar. 14, 2014, Montreal - Stella-Jones Inc. announced a net income growth of $92.5 million, compared to $73.1 million last year in its financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2013.
"2013 marked the thirteenth consecutive year of growth for Stella-Jones, as the Company further benefited from its proven expansion strategy. The ongoing growth of our continental network has resulted in improved efficiency of our operations and increased confidence of our customers. By virtue of recent acquisitions and key strategic decisions, Stella-Jones has not only become larger, it has become a stronger and more efficient organization, as well as a lasting source of value creation for its shareholders," said Brian McManus, President and Chief Executive Officer.
Sales reached $970.1 million, up 35.2% over last year's sales of $717.5 million. The operating facilities acquired from McFarland Cascade Holdings on November 30, 2012 contributed additional sales of $275.4 million over an eleven-month period in 2013, net of production transferred from other Stella-Jones facilities, while the assets acquired from The Pacific Wood Preserving Companies on November 15, 2013 generated sales of approximately $4.1 million in the fourth quarter.
The conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, Stella-Jones' reporting currency, versus the U.S. dollar, increased the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales by about $12.9 million when compared with the previous year. Excluding these factors, sales decreased approximately $39.8 million due to a timing effect on railway tie sales resulting from the transition of a Class 1 railroad customer from a treating services only program to a black tie program and to the year-over-year timing difference for certain utility pole orders.
Railway tie sales amounted to $394.0 million, compared with $404.5 million last year. This slight decrease reflects the transition of a Class 1 railroad customer from a TSO program to a Black Tie program, which had a timing effect of $30.9 million on 2013 sales. Excluding this factor, railway tie sales rose approximately 5.0%. This transition is mostly complete and should have a minimal impact on results in the first quarter of 2014. Thereafter, annualized sales to that customer should be greater than the aforementioned amount due to more value added under a Black Tie program. Sales of utility poles totalled $405.8 million, up from $218.5 million in 2012. This increase is essentially attributable to additional utility pole sales of $197.9 million from the McFarland operations. Sales of residential lumber reached $112.3 million, up from $35.5 million a year earlier as a result of additional residential lumber sales of $73.8 million from the McFarland operations. Finally, industrial product sales were $58.1 million, compared with $59.0 million a year earlier.
Operating income rose 26.6% to $138.7 million, or 14.3% of sales, versus $109.6 million, or 15.3% of sales, last year. While the increase in monetary terms mainly reflects the addition of the McFarland operations, the reduction as a percentage of sales stems from a less favourable product mix and McFarland's lower margins at the beginning of the year. Reflecting a successful integration, McFarland's margins progressively improved during the year.
Net income for the year increased 26.6% to $92.5 million or $1.34 per share, fully diluted, compared with $73.1 million or $1.13 per share, fully diluted, in 2012. Cash flows from operating activities before changes in non-cash working capital components and interest and income taxes paid rose 33.0% to $160.6 million. Cash flow provided by operating activities was $104.2 million compared to $28.5 million in 2012.
FOURTH QUARTER RESULTS
Sales amounted to $211.9 million, up 33.0% from $159.3 million for the same period a year earlier. The McFarland operations contributed additional sales of $49.3 million, net of production transferred from other Stella-Jones facilities, over a two-month period, while assets acquired from PWP generated sales of $4.1 million. The year-over-year conversion effect from fluctuations in the value of the Canadian dollar, versus the U.S. dollar, increased the value of U.S. dollar denominated sales by $5.8 million. Excluding these factors, sales decreased approximately $6.7 million, as the year-over-year timing difference for certain utility pole orders and the timing effect on sales from the program transition of a Class 1 railroad customer more than offset solid industry demand for railway ties.
Sales of railway ties reached $78.3 million in 2013, versus $73.7 million in 2012. This increase reflects solid market demand, including higher year-over-year advanced deliveries, and the PWP acquisition, partially offset by a timing effect of $13.4 million from the transition of a Class 1 railroad customer to a Black Tie program. Utility pole sales rose $36.9 million to $107.1 million due to a $41.3 million additional net contribution from the McFarland operations over a two-month period and the PWP acquisition. Excluding these factors, sales declined due to the year-over-year timing difference for certain orders. Residential lumber sales reached $13.8 million, up from $5.1 million last year, mainly due to additional sales of $8.1 million from the McFarland operations. Finally, industrial product sales were $12.7 million, versus $10.4 million a year ago, as a result of higher sales of industrial timber for railway bridges.
Operating income was $29.5 million, or 13.9% of sales, versus $21.1 million, or 13.3% of sales, last year. 2013 results include acquisition costs of $1.2 million related to the PWP transaction, while last year's results included acquisition costs of $2.4 million related to the McFarland transaction. Excluding these elements, operating income for the fourth quarter of 2013 was $30.7 million, or 14.5% of sales, compared with $23.5 million, or 14.8% of sales, a year earlier. The variation as a percentage of sales reflects a less favourable year-over-year product mix, partially offset by greater efficiencies throughout the Company's plant network.
Net income for the period rose 19.0% to $19.7 million, or $0.29 per share, fully diluted, compared with $16.5 million, or $0.25 per share, fully diluted, last year. Cash flows from operating activities before changes in non-cash working capital components and interest and income taxes paid reached $34.6 million, up 54.8% from $22.4 million a year earlier.
SOLID FINANCIAL POSITION
As at December 31, 2013, the Company's long-term debt, including the current portion, stood at $372.9 million compared with $349.6 million at the end of the previous year. The increase essentially reflects the additional long-term debt required to finance the acquisition of PWP and the effect of local currency translation on U.S. dollar denominated long-term debt. Despite this acquisition completed shortly before year end, Stella-Jones total debt to total capitalization improved to 0.39:1 as at December 31, 2013, versus 0.44:1 a year earlier.
QUARTERLY DIVIDEND OF $0.07 PER SHARE
On March 13, 2014, the Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.07 per common share payable on April 30, 2014 to shareholders of record at the close of business on April 2, 2014.
"As the North American economy continues to strengthen, demand for our core products should remain healthy in 2014. While a stronger economy could result in a tighter market for untreated railway ties and utility poles, as demand for other wood-based products also increases, we believe our inventory position and the strength of our procurement network should allow Stella-Jones to meet demand at the most optimal cost. The integration of the PWP assets will be a key focus in the year ahead. The operating efficiencies we expect to achieve should further strengthen our market penetration and status as a leading provider of treated wood products in our core categories," concluded Mr. McManus.