Earnings up, outlook down for Joy

WHILE it finished the third quarter with a modest increase in earnings, equipment manufacturer Joy Global is not going into the final quarter of the year with a light heart and has cut its full-year outlook on waning demand.
Earnings up, outlook down for Joy Earnings up, outlook down for Joy Earnings up, outlook down for Joy Earnings up, outlook down for Joy Earnings up, outlook down for Joy

Joy Global's longwall system. Courtesy of Joy Global.

Donna Schmidt

For the July quarter, the Wisconsin-based company reported net earnings of $US193.5 million, up from $173.1 million during the same period last year.

Sales also increased 22% year-on-year to $1.39 billion from $1.14 billion.

Operating income was $299 million or 22% of sales in the quarter just passed, while the comparable 2011 period was $236 million, or 21% of sales.

Demand slumps had an impact on Joy’s quarter – Q3 bookings were $1.1 billion versus $1.4 billion a year ago, a 25% drop.

“Our results this quarter continue to show strong execution but against a market backdrop of adjustment to lower demand for US coal and continued slowing of the Chinese economy,” president and chief executive officer Mike Sutherlin said.

Another factor impacting rates for original equipment orders, Sutherlin said, was a project pipeline or the lack thereof.

However, several projects should reach equipment selection in the near term.

The reduction in aftermarket orders in the US, Sutherlin added, had been offset by a jump in international orders.

“Although there is evidence that both the US and China markets have bottomed, we expect a recovery to be sluggish,” he said.

“We are therefore beginning the implementation of our prior downside planning by adjusting our operations to match current market conditions so that we can deliver performance over a range of possible outcomes.”

Because Joy already previously took cuts to its guidance, this is the second outlook adjustment to its whole-year numbers.

“The outlook for our business has continued to decline over the past quarter,” Sutherlin said.

"Although the US market has progressed in line with our expectations, the deceleration of China demand has deteriorated international markets more quickly and severely than previously expected."

Sutherlin noted that customers in the US had rapidly adjusted to the changing market conditions and with natural gas prices beginning to normalize, there was some return to coal being seen.

Because of that, the OEM projects the US coal market is at the bottom with opportunities ahead to recover volumes as that switch back to coal continues.

“However, this will be a slow recovery and therefore we must adjust to a structural change in the US market,” Sutherlin said, adding that natural gas would continue to be a primary competitor fuel that would in turn keep production and costs down.

He said many of those cuts in central Appalachia might be permanent but would be replaced by increases in the Illinois and Powder River basins.

Looking ahead, Joy said revenue was projected to drop by about $100 million from its previous guidance, with a whole-year 2012 revenue guidance range sitting at $5.45 billion to $5.55 billion.

Sutherlin also took that a step further with the company’s projections for next year.

“As we look forward, we see our fiscal year 2013 revenues to be flat to down slightly under a continuation of current market conditions,” he said.

“We will use this period as an opportunity to accelerate our strategy by consolidating capacity in traditional markets and expanding our position in those markets where we anticipate growth over the longer term.

“We expect to incur additional restructuring costs in 2013 which will further reduce our cost structure and make sustainable improvement in process efficiency and margins.”

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