Ferro reports strong fourth-quarter and full year results

Ferro Corporation has reported results for the fourth quarter and full year ended December 31, 2016.

Peter Thomas, Ferro’s Chairman, President and CEO, said, “Ferro delivered another strong quarter, capping a year that illustrates the success of our strategy to transform Ferro into a focused functional coatings and color solutions company that provides high-value products, technical solutions and services to our customers.
“In the quarter, our global team delivered increased sales volumes and gross profit margins in all three business segments while maintaining a strong cost optimization focus. We met or exceeded our full-year 2016 targets for sales growth, gross margin, adjusted free cash flow from operations, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted EPS. Growth in sales and profitability was achieved organically and through acquisitions, with the team completing five acquisitions during the year.
“Looking ahead, we are excited about the opportunities for Ferro in 2017. We have additional opportunities for organic growth and a robust pipeline of potential acquisition targets. In February, we closed a very successful refinancing, which positions us to execute our growth strategy with greater capacity and flexibility. We intend to continue strengthening our product and technology portfolios, enhancing our market positions, and expanding our global reach to drive shareholder value.”
Mr. Thomas continued, “Our organic growth profile has improved over the course of 2016 as new product development and geographic expansion initiatives have taken root. In addition, acquisitions integrated over the past 12 months, including Nubiola and Al Salomi, are making significant contributions to consolidated results.
“I am extremely proud of our global team and the commitment they have shown executing our acquisition, integration, cost optimization and innovation priorities. With their continuing efforts, the business infrastructure we have in place, and our enhanced financial flexibility, we’re ready to take the Company to the next stage of growth.”
2016 Consolidated Fourth Quarter Results from Continuing Operations
Fourth quarter net sales grew 6.2% to $281.3 million from $265.0 million in the prior year. On a constant currency basis, fourth quarter net sales increased 11.0% compared to the prior year. Gross profit increased to $79.6 million from $76.4 million. Ferro reported a net loss from continuing operations in the fourth quarter of $20.6 million, or $(0.25) per diluted share, compared with net income of $59.0 million and earnings per diluted share of $0.67 for the same quarter in the prior year. On an adjusted basis, earnings per diluted share from continuing operations were $0.27, an increase of 42.1% over the $0.19 delivered in the prior-year fourth quarter.
In the fourth quarter of 2016, organic net sales (excluding acquisitions) increased 3.9%, on a constant currency basis, and the gross profit margin on organic net sales increased 220 basis points to 30.9%.
Fourth Quarter Segment Performance
In the fourth quarter, Ferro delivered improved performance in all three of its reporting segments.
•Pigments, Powders and Oxides (PPO) delivered a robust 17.4% sales increase, to $59.0 million, and the gross profit margin expanded nearly 70 basis points to 31.3%.
•Performance Color & Glass (PCG) sales improved 9.4%, to $94.6 million, while the gross profit margin expanded by 160 basis points to 34.8%.
•Performance Coatings sales were relatively flat at $127.8 million, while gross profit margin improved to 27.0% from 24.0%.
Full-year 2016 Consolidated Results from Continuing Operations
For the year ended December 31, 2016, net sales increased to $1.15 billion, a 6.5% improvement compared to $1.08 billion generated in 2015. On a constant currency basis, net sales increased 11.1%. Gross profit increased to $351.2 million from $301.7 million and the gross margin expanded 260 basis points, to 30.7% from 28.1% in the prior year. Reported gross profit for both years includes certain purchase accounting adjustments associated with recent acquisitions, pension and other postretirement benefit mark-to-market adjustments, and currency-related items in Venezuela in 2015 prior to the sale of our interest in the business. Adjusting for these items, the gross profit margins in 2016 and 2015 would have been 31.4% and 28.1%, respectively.
Ferro reported 2016 income from continuing operations of $44.6 million, or $0.51 per diluted share, compared with $99.9 million, or $1.14 per diluted share, in the prior year. On an adjusted basis, 2016 full-year earnings per diluted share increased to $1.09 from $0.85, a 28.2% improvement over the prior year. Adjusted EBITDA improved to $194.6 million, a conversion of 17.0% of sales, up from 14.4% in 2015.
For the full year, organic net sales increased approximately 1.0%, on a constant currency basis, while the gross profit margin on organic net sales increased by 280 basis points to 31.3%.
Net cash provided by operating activities was $62.6 million, compared to $51.2 million in the prior year, an increase of 22.3%. Ferro generated adjusted free cash flow from continuing operations of $84.5 million, compared to $75.5 million in the prior year, an improvement of 11.9%. Adjusted free cash flow from continuing operations is defined as adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations less cash items used to operate the businesses, including cash taxes and interest, changes in working capital, capital expenditures and other cash items.
2017 Outlook
Ferro provided the following 2017 outlook:
•Consolidated sales growth of 7% – 8%
•Gross margin of 31.4% – 31.9%
•SG&A Expense of 18.2% – 18.5%
•Total Interest Expense of $26 million – $27 million
•Tax Rate 27% – 28%
•Adjusted EPS of $1.12 – $1.17 per share
•Adjusted EBITDA of $207 million – $212 million
•Adjusted free cash flow from operating activities of $80 million – $90 million
Note: The above guidance assumes no additional acquisitions or divestitures are made in 2017 and reflects foreign currency exchange rates as of December 31, 2016.
Commenting on the outlook, Mr. Thomas said, “We are pleased to see the momentum generated in the second half of 2016 carrying into 2017. Results in the early part of 2017 are encouraging, and we are expecting another year of solid growth with constant currency sales growth of 11% – 12%. We expect the base business to continue the growth momentum it generated in the latter part of 2016, adding to our growth through acquisitions. To capitalize on the recent organic growth momentum, we will be making additional investments in sales, technical service and research and development programs.
“The year won’t be without its challenges, however, as the raw material cost increases of the last several months are expected to continue. We expect to offset these cost increases through pricing actions, product reformulations and optimization actions, but due to competitive dynamics and the lag in the timing between announced pricing actions and raw materials increases, we may see gross profit margin pressures from quarter to quarter. In addition, foreign currency exchange rates continue to be volatile, and we anticipate changes in rates will again adversely impact reported results. Based on 2016 year-end rates, we estimate that foreign currency translation will adversely impact reported EBITDA by approximately $7 million, or approximately $0.04 from an EPS perspective.”
Ferro’s outlook assumes an average exchange rate of 1.05 USD/EUR for the year, compared with an average of approximately 1.10 USD/EUR in 2016. Ferro generates approximately 30% – 35% of its revenue in Euros, and approximately 25% – 30% in U.S. Dollars. Ferro also generates revenue in foreign currencies other than the Euro, although no other single currency accounts for more than 5% of our exposure, as shown in the table below. The Company estimates that a 1% overall change in foreign currency exchange rates, weighted for the countries where we do business, would impact sales and operating profit by approximately $8.3 million and $1.2 million, respectively.
Adjusted Guidance: Earnings, EBITDA and Free Cash Flow from Continuing Operations
Management has provided the adjusted diluted EPS, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted free cash flow from operations guidance on a continuing operations basis. While it is likely that Ferro could incur charges, or have cash flows for items excluded from adjusted diluted EPS, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted free cash flow from continuing operations [such as mark-to-market adjustments of pension and other postretirement benefit obligations, restructuring and impairment charges, and legal and professional expenses related to certain business development activities], it is not possible, without unreasonable effort, to identify the amount or significance of these items or the potential for other transactions that may impact future GAAP net income and cash flow from operating activities. Management does not believe these items to be representative of underlying business performance. Management is unable to reconcile, without unreasonable effort, the Company’s forecasted range of adjusted EPS, adjusted EBITDA and adjusted free cash from continuing operations to a comparable GAAP range.
Financing Transaction
On February 14, 2017, the Company announced that it completed a successful refinancing of its debt structure, which increased liquidity, extended debt maturities, and provided improved operating flexibility. The refinancing positions Ferro to continue its value creation strategy with flexible financing options to support both organic and inorganic growth opportunities. See Table 14 for an illustration of the Company’s capitalization on a proforma basis, as if the refinancing was completed on December 31, 2016.
Constant Currency
Constant currency results reflect the re-measurement of 2015 reported and adjusted local currency results using 2016 exchange rates, resulting in constant currency comparative figures to 2016 reported and adjusted results. The non-GAAP financial measures presented should not be considered as a substitute for the measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.
For full information visit http://www.ferro.com