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Blount International Reports 2003 Q4 Earnings
Feb 26, 2004
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Blount International, Inc. (Portland, OR, U.S.), an international company operating in the three principal business segments of Outdoor Products, Lawnmower, and Industrial and Power Equipment, has reported its 2003 fourth-quarter earnings for the quarter ended Dec. 31, 2003.

The filing shows that the company's sales increased by 24 percent to U.S. $159.2 million in fourth quarter, income from operations increased 29 percent from last year's fourth quarter, and the year-end order backlog more than doubled from 2002 to $119.3 million.

Sales for the fourth quarter of 2003 were $159.2 million, a 24.3-percent increase from $128.1 million in last year's fourth quarter. Income from operations increased to $22 million from $17 million in last year's fourth quarter, a 29.4-percent increase. Net income of $4.1 million ($0.13 per share) was higher than last year's fourth quarter net income of $3.8 million ($0.12 per share). Last year's net income was favorably impacted in the fourth quarter by $2.1 million in income from the proceeds of a life insurance payment, $0.8 million in income from discontinued operations—primarily due to the final settlement of a claim related to the company's construction business—and an income tax benefit of $1.6 million.

Sales in 2003 were $559.1 million compared to $479.5 million in 2002, a 16.6-percent increase. Income from continuing operations before income tax expense was $11.2 million compared to a loss of $9.3 million in 2002. The increase in income before taxes is attributable to a $21.1 million, or 27.9 percent, increase in business segment operating income, and a $7-million reduction in restructuring expense, partially offset by a $6.5 million increase in corporate expenses. Net loss for 2003 was $33.7 million ($1.09 per share) compared to $5.7 million ($0.19 per share) in 2002. This year's net loss included $41 million in income tax expense related to the recognition of a non-cash deferred tax valuation allowance in the third quarter.

The Outdoor Products segment's fourth quarter sales were $93.2 million, a 12.2-percent increase from last year's fourth quarter sales of $83.1 million. Operating income increased 9 percent to $19.3 million from $17.7 million in last year's fourth quarter. The increases in sales and profit were due to improvements in all major geographical markets and across all product lines.

Backlog at the end of the year was $66.7 million, up from $42.9 million at the end of 2002 and $61.1 million at the end of the third quarter. Segment sales for the full year were $358.8 million, a 16.7-percent increase from last year's $307.4 million. Operating income for 2003 was $86.2 million compared to $67.7 million in 2002.

The Lawnmower segment's fourth-quarter sales were $9.3 million, slightly better than last year's fourth quarter. Operating loss in the fourth quarter was $0.5 million compared to an operating income of $0.7 million last year. Full year sales were $35.7 million compared to $41.4 million last year, a 13.8-percent decline. Full-year operating loss was $1.2 million compared to operating income of $2.7 million last year.

The Lawnmower segment's sales and profits have been impacted by lower unit shipments due to a weak spring selling season, an increase in competitive offerings from a year ago and higher employee benefit expenses. We have recently made a change in this segment's management in order to accelerate the recovery to profitability in this business. New distribution, cost reductions, and early acceptance of our new models should restore this segment to profitability in the near term. Backlog at the end of 2003 was $4.9 million, an increase from $3.1 million at the end of 2002.

The Industrial and Power Equipment segment recorded sales of $56.8 million in the fourth quarter, a 58.7-percent increase from 2002. Operating income in the fourth quarter was $7.0 million compared to $1.3 million last year. The increases in sales and operating income were the result of higher unit sales of Blount products as well as the incremental impact of the Timberking line. Backlog increased at quarter-end to $47.7 million from $10.3 million last year. Sales for the full year were $165 million compared to $131.7 million in 2002, a 25.3-percent increase. Operating income for 2003 was $11.7 million compared to $5.2 million last year.

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