CALHOUN, Georgia, Feb. 9, 2017 /PRNewswire/. Mohawk Industries, Inc. (NYSE: MHK) today announced 2016 fourth quarter record net earnings of $234 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.13, a 22% increase versus prior year. Excluding restructuring, acquisition expenses and other charges, net earnings were $243 million, and EPS was $3.26, a 16% increase over last year's fourth quarter adjusted EPS. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2016 were $2.2 billion, up 9% versus the prior year's fourth quarter as reported and 7% on a legacy basis applying constant days and currency rates. For the fourth quarter of 2015, net sales were $2.0 billion, net earnings were $192 million and EPS was $2.57; excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges, net earnings were $210 million and EPS was $2.82.
For the twelve months ending December 31, 2016, net earnings and EPS were $930 million and $12.48, respectively. Net earnings excluding restructuring, acquisition expenses and other charges were $940 million, and EPS was $12.61, an increase of 24% over the twelve-month period adjusted EPS result in 2015. For the twelve-month period, net sales were $9.0 billion, an increase of 11% versus prior year as reported and 5.5% on a legacy basis applying constant currency rates. For the twelve-month period ending December 31, 2015, net sales were $8.1 billion, net earnings were $615 million and EPS was $8.31; excluding restructuring, acquisition expenses and other charges, net earnings and EPS were $756 million and $10.20.
Commenting on Mohawk Industries' fourth quarter and full year performance, Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO, stated, "In the fourth quarter, our sales and earnings per share set records for the period. Our operating margin for the quarter rose to 14.0%, a 150 basis point improvement over the prior year and the highest fourth quarter result in the company's history.
"For the full year, Mohawk delivered an outstanding performance. Our revenues for the year rose to an all-time high, our EBITDA increased to $1.7 billion and we generated adjusted operating income of $1.3 billion, up 24% over the prior year, the highest in our history. In 2016, our capital investments were our most ever at approximately $670 million. In 2016 alone, process improvements from new methods, product re-engineering and equipment upgrades have increased our productivity by $140 million. To continue our growth, we will make even greater internal investments this year to expand capacity and enter new markets. We are also adding unique capabilities to introduce more differentiated products and anticipate even higher productivity improvements in the coming year.
"For the quarter, our Global Ceramic Segment sales increased 5% as reported and on a constant days and currency basis. Operating income for the segment rose approximately 17% as reported to an operating margin of 14%. Sales in our North American ceramic business improved with new construction, commercial and home center channels outperforming. Our new larger sizes, contemporary shapes and proprietary Reveal Imaging are enhancing our styling and sales growth. Our greenfield ceramic plant in Tennessee became fully operational in the period and should reach planned efficiency levels in the first quarter. We are introducing higher value products at the facility to improve the product mix in the plant. In Mexico, our sales grew significantly but will be constrained until our Salamanca expansion is completed later this year. In the U.S. and Mexico, we have announced price increases on selected products to offset inflation in labor, energy and materials. Our European ceramic sales and margins improved as we enhanced our product offering and style leadership. In Russia, we continue to outperform the market as we bring leading global design to the region. We are installing additional capacity to support the expected expansion of the Russian economy.
"During the quarter, our Flooring North America Segment's sales increased 10% as reported or 8.5% on a constant day's basis. Operating income grew 18.5% to a margin of 14.5% as reported, or 15% excluding restructuring, integration and other charges. Residential carpet sales improved despite decreased selling prices from channel mix and growth in polyester. Our price increase of 3 to 5% to cover rising costs is being implemented in the first quarter. We are introducing SmartStrand Silk Reserve, which elevates luxuriously soft carpet to an unprecedented level, and AirO, a patented recycled polyester technology that produces a unique, more elegant soft flooring product that is installed in half the time. During the period, our commercial business grew faster than residential as a result of our investments in products and sales last year. Our hard surface sales, including LVT, laminate, wood and vinyl, continued their dramatic expansion. Our LVT plant made significant improvements during the period, and we are installing another production line that will double our U.S. capacity by the end of this year. We are introducing SolidTech, a new rigid product, to complement our existing flexible LVT collections. Our premium laminate products with realistic visuals and proprietary water resistance continue to outperform the market. We are introducing more refined visuals and longer planks that replicate solid wood from our new engineered wood plant.
"For the quarter, our Flooring Rest of the World Segment's sales increased 14%, and operating income grew 41% as reported. Legacy sales rose 7% on a constant currency basis, and adjusted operating income increased 20% to a 17% margin. Our sales growth in the period was led by LVT, laminate and insulation products. Both our sheet vinyl and wood sales were hampered by prior manufacturing disruptions, which we have overcome. Our segment margins increased due to improved mix, the success of our new introductions and price increases, which offset cost inflation and currency changes. To maximize LVT production, we have implemented numerous operational improvements that increased our throughput and reduced our manufacturing costs. We continue to invest in sales and marketing to expand the distribution of our LVT products in anticipation of our capacity increasing this year. In laminate, we continue to grow our sales and margins through design and performance innovation. Sales of our insulation products increased significantly as we realigned the management and sales strategies of our acquired and legacy businesses. We are initiating the sale of carpet tile products in Europe to establish distribution that will support a new carpet tile plant that we are building in Belgium this year. We have approved a new sheet vinyl plant in Russia adjacent to our ceramic facility that will be operational next year.
"In January, we entered into an agreement to acquire a ceramic company in Italy located near our existing facilities. We anticipate product, sales and manufacturing synergies that will enhance our cost position and strengthen our combined brands and distribution.
"Today, Mohawk is in the best position in the company's history. In 2016, we delivered record results as our investment strategy to enhance our product innovation, brands and service continued to benefit our customers and provide the returns we expected. In 2017, we anticipate sales to grow similarly to last year on a local basis with operating margins improving slightly, excluding acquisitions and intellectual property. This year we will absorb about $45 million in start-up manufacturing and related marketing expenses in addition to other cost inflation. Across the enterprise, we are investing to increase our sales growth by expanding our capacity, broadening our product portfolio and entering new markets. Even with the considerable investments we have made since 2013, our financial leverage is historically low at 1.4x EBITDA. We believe there are potential acquisitions in our current markets and product categories as well as opportunities in new geographies and complementary products. Our organization and balance sheet can support significant additional investments to increase our business and enhance shareholder value. Taking all of this into account, our EPS guidance for the first quarter of 2017 is $2.64 to $2.73, which represents an 11% to 15% increase over first quarter 2016."
ABOUT MOHAWK INDUSTRIES
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; tax, product and other claims; litigation; and other risks identified in Mohawk's SEC reports and public announcements.
Conference call Friday, February 10, 2017, 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 # 50983195. A replay will be available until Friday, March 10, 2017, by dialing 855-859-2056 for US/local calls and 404-537-3406 for International/Local calls and entering Conference ID # 50983195.