Briggs & Stratton fiscal 4Q loss narrows to $8.4M

Briggs & Stratton posts narrower 4Q profit as lower costs offset sales drop; hikes dividend

Associated Press

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Engine maker Briggs & Stratton Corp. said Thursday its fiscal fourth-quarter loss narrowed, as lower costs more than offset the effects of lower demand for its products.

For the quarter ended July 1, the company posted a loss of $8.4 million, or 18 cents per share, less than half the loss of $17.8 million, or 36 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

The recent quarter's results included 40 cents per share in restructuring costs, while the year-ago quarter included 68 cents per share in impairment charges. Excluding the restructuring costs, the company posted an adjusted profit of 22 cents per share for the recent quarter.

Revenue fell 17 percent to $501.2 million from $605.2 million.

The results fell short of Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected adjusted profit of 28 cents per share, on $606.2 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Engine sales fell 18 percent to $322.5 million, as shipment volumes to lawn and garden equipment manufacturers dropped 19 percent, partially as a result of drought conditions in North America and economic uncertainty in Europe.

Sales at the company's products segment fell 15 percent to $220.1 million, on lower sales volumes of portable generators, along with lower demand for riding lawn and garden equipment and a drop in international sales volumes.

For the full fiscal year 2012, the company said it earned $29 million, or 57 cents per share, up from $24.4 million, or 48 cents per share, in fiscal 2011.

For fiscal 2013, Briggs & Stratton projected net income of $1.25 to $1.55 per share, on $1.95 billion to $2.15 billion in revenue.

Analysts expect a profit of $1.54 per share, with estimates ranging from $1.50 to $1.60.

Wall Street was projecting revenue, on average, of $2.07 billion, with estimates ranging from $2.01 billion to $2.11 billion.

Also on Thursday, the company said its board approved a 1-cent increase to its quarterly cash dividend. The 12-cent dividend will be paid on or after Oct. 1 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 20.

Briggs & Stratton shares fell 82 cents, or 4.6 percent, to $16.85 in midday trading.

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