CALHOUN, Georgia, April 26, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Mohawk Industries, Inc. (NYSE: MHK) today announced 2018 first quarter net earnings of $209 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $2.78. Adjusted net earnings were $225 million and EPS was $3.01, excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges, an 11% increase over last year. Net sales for the first quarter of 2018 were $2.4 billion, up 9% in the quarter and 4% on a constant currency basis. For the first quarter of 2017, net sales were $2.2 billion, net earnings were $201 million and EPS was $2.68; adjusted net earnings were $203 million and EPS was $2.72, excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges.
Commenting on Mohawk Industries' first quarter performance, Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO, stated, "Mohawk is benefiting from its diverse geographical footprint and product portfolio. Our performance in the first quarter accentuated this strength as we realized significant growth in LVT in our largest markets and sales and profits grew strongly in our ceramic business outside the U.S. We are leveraging our global organization's strength to initiate manufacturing in new markets and extend our development of innovative products. Our global decentralized structure enables us to simultaneously manage numerous internal investments while also executing new acquisitions.
"For the quarter, our operating income grew at a greater rate when adjusted for the loss of income from expired patents and higher start-up costs of new facilities and sales initiatives. In the first quarter, material and freight inflation increased more than we anticipated and impacted our costs. We are initiating selective pricing actions by product and region that, combined with improving mix and cost reductions, will offset expected inflation.
"For the quarter, our Global Ceramic Segment sales increased 12% as reported and 8% on a constant currency basis. Our sales in Russia and Mexico grew the fastest, and our European acquisitions added approximately 6% to our sales. Operating margin was approximately 13% both as reported and on an adjusted basis, decreasing year over year due to inflation, product mix and start-up cost. First quarter segment sales sequentially improved, and we anticipate increased growth throughout the balance of the year, supported by greater capacity and new product introductions. We are implementing sales actions to increase our customer base and market share in both the residential and commercial sectors. In the U.S., we are launching innovative slip resistant tile, introducing higher styled designs in all price points and marketing ceramic's durability and ease of care to consumers. Our new service centers and countertop distribution are ramping up and will enhance our results as sales increase. The building for our new quartz plant is nearing completion, and equipment installation should begin this quarter. In Mexico, the increased capacity and new capabilities of our Salamanca plant are allowing us to expand our customer base domestically and grow exports to Central and South America. In Europe, our product mix is improving as we capture a larger share of the premium market, and our new product launches increase our average price. Our two acquisitions in Italy and Poland are progressing as planned as we integrate their operations and expand their product offering. In Russia, we continue to grow our leading market position in a challenging economic environment.
"During the quarter, our Flooring North America Segment's sales increased 1%. The segment's operating margin was 8% as reported, absorbing increased inflation, restructuring and LVT start-up costs. On an adjusted basis, the operating margin was approximately 10% including the higher inflation and start-up costs. Our residential carpet sales increased during the quarter, led by the retail replacement channel. Our sales benefited from the strength of our innovative products, including super soft SmartStrand Silk Reserve, luxury Karastan collections, patented Continuum polyester offerings and propriety, hypoallergenic Air.o unified soft flooring. In the first quarter, we implemented the carpet price increase we announced last fall. In addition, our raw material and freight costs escalated more than we anticipated, and we announced another carpet price increase of 6% to 7% to cover these costs. We have realigned our commercial sales structure, so that we can provide greater expertise with complete flooring solutions for each end-use market. LVT sales continue to expand in both residential and commercial. To support our increasing manufacturing capabilities, we are expanding our collections of both flexible and rigid LVT. Our new laminate production line is working well and has unique capabilities to make products indistinguishable from natural wood with superior visuals and performance. Our revolutionary RevWood Plus, a new water-proof wood product, is rapidly gaining acceptance with longer planks and contemporary finishes. Our investments in new technologies and hundreds of productivity projects are enhancing our service levels, quality and cost structures.
"For the quarter, our Flooring Rest of the World Segment's sales increased 18% as reported and 4% on a constant currency basis, as local economies improved and the Euro strengthened. As reported, our operating income increased 17% as a result of improved price and mix, productivity and the strengthening Euro, overcoming inflation, start-up costs and expired patents. On an adjusted basis, the operating margin was approximately 16%, a slight improvement even with higher start-up costs and lower patent income. We are starting new LVT and laminate production in Belgium, and we are launching new carpet tile and rigid LVT products. The price increases we implemented last fall are covering raw material increases from 2017, and we are selectively increasing prices to offset further inflation. LVT in Europe is growing in acceptance, and we are the market leader. Our new LVT production line is ramping up, and we are expanding our product offering to fully utilize its capacity. Our sheet vinyl assets in Europe are running at capacity, and we are seeding the Russian market to build demand for our new plant, which should initiate production by the end of this year. To expand our sales across Europe, we are assembling an experienced commercial sales force for our LVT, sheet vinyl and carpet tile. Our laminate business continues to perform well, and we lead the premium market in realistic design and water-resistant products. Our new laminate press is operating, and we are introducing additional premium products to extend our market leadership. Our wood panel sales are performing well as a result of investments that expanded capacity and improved our costs. Our insulation business is recovering as raw material supply increases and costs moderate.
"Around the globe, we are starting up a number of large investments that will significantly enhance our long-term results by expanding existing sales, adding product categories and entering new markets. Many of these operations are currently initiating new production, including Mexican, Italian and Russian ceramic; U.S. and European premium laminate; U.S. and European LVT; Italian porcelain slabs; and European carpet tile. In addition, by the end of this year, we anticipate commencing production of quartz countertops in the U.S. and sheet vinyl in Russia, as well as expanding polyester carpet in the U.S.; ceramic tile in Poland; and laminate and ceramic wall tile in Russia. We anticipate finalizing the acquisition of Godfrey Hirst as early as the end of May, adding the largest flooring producer in Australia and New Zealand to our global portfolio. To prepare for the integration, we are assessing the sales, product and raw material strategies for both companies to optimize performance.
"As anticipated this year, we will have a non-recurring reduction of operating income of $70-75 million, comprised of $30-35 million from higher start-up costs and $40 million from patents that expired in 2017. In 2018, incremental depreciation of $75 million will curtail our operating margins until our sales reach a level to fully absorb these investments. Changes in the U.S. tax law will reduce our adjusted tax rate from 26% last year to an estimated 21% this year. Taking all of this into account, our EPS guidance for the second quarter is $3.89 to $3.98, excluding any one-time charges.
"During the balance of 2018, our sales growth should improve as we increase the use of our new production, introduce additional products and complete the acquisition of Godfrey Hirst. This year, the Godfrey Hirst acquisition is estimated to increase revenue by $180 million and EPS by $0.25. In the third quarter, higher prices, mix and productivity should increase our adjusted operating income above last year, even with a lower operating margin. In the fourth quarter, our adjusted operating income and margin should exceed 2017, as the impact from start-ups and patents decline. Next year, with higher utilization and lower start-up costs, we will see further enhancements of our sales and profitability. With the strength of our organization, we can execute additional acquisitions if appropriate risk and return can be achieved."
Mohawk Industries is the leading global flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world. Mohawk's vertically integrated manufacturing and distribution processes provide competitive advantages in the production of carpet, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate, wood, stone and vinyl flooring. Our industry-leading innovation has yielded products and technologies that differentiate our brands in the marketplace and satisfy all remodeling and new construction requirements. Our brands are among the most recognized in the industry and include American Olean, Daltile, Durkan, IVC, Karastan, Marazzi, Mohawk, Mohawk Group, Pergo, Quick-Step and Unilin. During the past decade, Mohawk has transformed its business from an American carpet manufacturer into the world's largest flooring company with operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Europe, India, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Russia and the United States.
Certain of the statements in the immediately preceding paragraphs, particularly anticipating future performance, business prospects, growth and operating strategies and similar matters and those that include the words "could," "should," "believes," "anticipates," "expects," and "estimates," or similar expressions constitute "forward-looking statements." For those statements, Mohawk claims the protection of the safe harbor for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. There can be no assurance that the forward-looking statements will be accurate because they are based on many assumptions, which involve risks and uncertainties. The following important factors could cause future results to differ: changes in economic or industry conditions; competition; inflation and deflation in raw material prices and other input costs; inflation and deflation in consumer markets; energy costs and supply; timing and level of capital expenditures; timing and implementation of price increases for the Company's products; impairment charges; integration of acquisitions; international operations; introduction of new products; rationalization of operations; taxes and tax reform, product and other claims; litigation; and other risks identified in Mohawk's SEC reports and public announcements.
Conference call Friday, April 27, 2018, at 11:00 AM Eastern Time
The telephone number is 1-800-603-9255 for US/Canada and 1-706-634-2294 for International/Local. Conference ID # 6659539. A replay will be available until May 27, 2018, by dialing 1-855-859-2056 for US/local calls and 1-404-537-3406 for International/Local calls and entering Conference ID # 6659539.
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CONTACT: Frank H. Boykin, Chief Financial Officer (706) 624-2695