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Illinois Tool Works (ITW) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Illinois Tool Works (NYSE: ITW)
Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call
Feb. 1, 2019 10:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:

Operator

Welcome, and thank you for joining ITW's 2018 fourth-quarter earnings call. My name is Cheryl, and I will be your conference operator today. [Operator instructions] Please note, today's conference is being recorded. I will now turn the call over to Karen Fletcher, vice president of investor relations.

You may begin.

Karen Fletcher -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Thank you, Cheryl. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to ITW's fourth-quarter 2018 conference call. I'm joined by our Chairman and CEO Scott Santi; along with Senior Vice President and CFO Michael Larsen. During today's call, we will discuss fourth quarter and full-year 2018 financial results and we'll update you on our 2019 outlook.

Slide 2 is a reminder that this presentation contains our financial forecast for the first quarter and full-year 2019, as well as other forward-looking statements identified on this slide. We refer you to the company's 2017 Form 10-K and subsequently filed Form 10-Qs for more detail about important risks that could cause actual results to differ materially from our expectations. Also, this presentation uses certain non-GAAP measures, and the reconciliation of those measures to the most comparable GAAP measures is contained in the press release. As a reminder, in 2017, we disclosed a $95 million favorable legal settlement and recorded a one-time tax charge in the fourth quarter.

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Therefore, we provided you with two tables on Slides 3 and 4 that summarize key financial measures for fourth quarter and full year on a GAAP basis, as well as on an adjusted basis, excluding the legal settlement and tax charge. For the rest of this conference call, our comments and variances exclude these two items -- these two one-time items from 2017. So with that, we can move to Slide 5 and I'll now turn the call over to our Chairman and CEO Scott Santi.

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Karen, and good morning, everyone. Greetings from the epicenter of the polar vortex. In the fourth quarter, the ITW team delivered solid earnings growth and margin expansion. Fourth-quarter EPS was in line with the midpoint of our guidance and increased 8%, 10%, excluding currency, with operating margin up 70 basis points to 24% and after-tax return on invested capital up 320 basis points to over 27%.

For the full year, the ITW team delivered high-quality earnings growth of 15%, record operating income, record operating margin and record return on invested capital. Free cash flow was up 10%, and we invested over $600 million in our businesses for growth and productivity. In addition, we returned more than $3 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases. Throughout 2018, we continue to make significant progress on the execution of our enterprise strategy, as evidenced by 110 basis points of margin improvement from our Enterprise Initiatives over the course of the year.

We made really good progress on organic growth acceleration in better than half of our operating divisions. As we discussed in our Investor Day back in December, our focus now is on getting the other 36 of our divisions that are not yet growing to their potential, moving more briskly down that path, and it's a major focus for us for the next couple of years. There's no doubt that 2018 had its challenges, raw material cost inflation, tariff uncertainties, decelerating auto production and currency headwinds in the back half of the year. Our ability to power through these challenges and deliver another year of record results, as evidence of the performance power of the ITW business model and the resilience of our high-quality diversified business portfolio.

As we head into 2019, I'm confident that we are well-positioned to deliver another year of meaningful progress down the path to ITW's full potential and to our 2023 performance goal. Before I turn the call over to Michael, let me conclude by recognizing and thanking my ITW colleagues around the world for the great job that they continue to do in serving our customers and executing our strategy with excellence. Michael, over to you.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Thanks, Scott, and good morning. Let's stay on Slide 5 and recap a few more highlights for the fourth quarter. GAAP EPS was $1.83, an increase of 8% as we managed through some international end markets softness in two segments: the solid execution and delivered earnings per share at the midpoint of our guidance. Organic revenue was up 1%, with solid 4% growth in North America, offset by a 2% decline in international markets.

I'll provide some additional color on what we saw in North America and international markets in a couple of minutes. PLS was 90 basis points this quarter, a little bit above our full-year rate of 70 basis points. Operating margin performance was solid as margins improved 70 basis points, with 110 basis points from Enterprise Initiatives, lower price/cost margin dilution headwind. Finally, free cash flow increased 18% to $727 million, 120% in net income and we repurchased $500 million of our shares in the quarter.

Moving to Slide 6 for detail on fourth-quarter operating margin. We've expanded operating margin every quarter this year and the fourth quarter was no different. In fact, we did better than last quarter, with 70 basis points of improvement year over year versus 30 basis points in Q3. All year, our teams have continued to execute well in Enterprise Initiatives, consistently contributing 100 basis points or more of margin improvement every quarter.

And the impact is broad-based. In the fourth quarter, Enterprise Initiatives benefits ranged from 80 to 120 basis points across each one of our seven segments. As I mentioned, price cost, margin dilution improved, narrowing from 70 basis points in the second quarter to 60 basis points in the third quarter, and now 40 basis points in the fourth quarter. Throughout the year, we continue to take decisive pricing actions to offset cost inflation and tariff impact.

As planned, on a dollar basis, price more than offset raw material costs this quarter and for the full year. All in, operating margin expanded by 70 basis points in the fourth quarter to 24%, the highest Q4 operating margin in ITW's history. Now we'll look at segment performance, starting with Slide 7. The table on the left provides some additional color on our fourth quarter organic growth rates by segment and by region.

As I mentioned, North America continued its solid growth pattern with 4% this quarter, similar to third quarter and first half of the year. North America has really been steady and strong all year, ending the year up 4%. You can see some really good organic growth numbers in North America, with, for example, food equipment, welding, both up 7%; polymers and fluids, up 6%. For the full year, every segment delivered positive organic growth in North America, ranging from 2% to 11%.

International was more of a challenge, specifically in two segments: with organic growth down 2% in the fourth quarter compared to up 2% in the first half of the year. The international market challenges that we're experiencing are not broad based, and relate to just two segments: automotive OEM and specialty. Excluding those two segments, our international growth in Q2 would have been four points higher at plus 2%. More on that in the next few slides.

I should just point out that China, overall, was down slightly at minus 2%, with again, lower sales in automotive and specialty only. The other five segments saw positive demand trends as evidenced by, for example, test and measurement and electronics, up 12%; welding up 22%; and polymers and fluids, up 9%. For the full year, China was up 3%. Let's go into the segment details, starting with automotive OEM.

Organic growth was down 4% this quarter. North America being positive 2% was not enough to offset a meaningful reduction in build rates in Europe and China. For the full year, automotive OEM organic growth was flat, as the auto builds in regions that are relevant to ITW all declined. If you look at 2018's full-year organic growth compared to builds by region, we delivered significant above-market growth in two of our key markets, North America and China.

In North America, we grew 3% versus builds down 1%. And in China, organic growth was 3% versus builds down 4%. In Europe, the implementation of mandated new emissions testing procedures in Q3 caused significant auto production disruption in the back half of the year. We're confident that our below build rate revenue declines in the second half are a function of mix, what models passed the new emissions testing procedures and when, and not the result of any material share loss.

Our new program wins in Europe in 2018 were very strong as is our new program pipeline there. We remain confident that our European auto businesses are well-positioned to deliver consistent above-market growth and that they will get back to doing so over the next several quarters. With respect to the European market production issues I referenced a minute ago, our auto team on the ground expect that they will work themselves through over the next several quarters, and that conditions will begin to normalize in the back half of the year. Fourth quarter operating margin declined 150 basis points, almost entirely due to price cost headwinds.

As you know, pricing actions take longer to implement in the automotive market. It is encouraging, though, that for the full year, this segment's operating margin of 22.5% was down only 30 basis points, with the benefits of Enterprise Initiatives, essentially offsetting price cost headwinds. Moving on to Slide 8. Food equipment had a strong quarter and delivered accelerating organic revenue growth of 5%, its highest quarterly growth in four years, as overall demand continued to improve across the board.

North America grew 7%, with equipment up 9% and service up 4%. Foodservice was up 11%, and retail, i.e. sales to grocery stores, turned positive as we began to lap the difficult comps that we've talked about on prior calls. Growth in institutional end markets continues to be very strong and was up double digits, with particular strength in the education and lodging categories.

International markets were solid 2%, up 3% with good growth in both equipment and service. As expected, Test and measurement and electronics organic revenue was flat against the tough comp of 9% organic growth in the fourth quarter of 2017. Test and measurement was down 1% due to this difficult year-over-year comparison. Electronics was up 2%.

While this quarter had a tough comp full-year organic growth was solid at plus 4%, and I should point out that fourth-quarter operating margin improved by 140 basis points to 24.8%, a record for the segment. Now on to Slide 9. Welding continued its strong run, with 8% organic growth this quarter, which is impressive versus a comp of 6% growth last year. Demand was strong across the board, with global equipment up 7%, and consumables up 8%.

The industrial business was up; 7%, commercial, up 8%; and oil and gas, up 9%. By region, North America was up 7%; and international, up 11%. polymers and fluids organic growth was 4%, with 7% growth in automotive aftermarket, which benefited from a new product launch. And polymers was up 4%, with strong product sales in Asia Pacific, offsetting a 4% decline in fluids, which included a significant amount of PLS and a tough comp at plus 5% last year.

Turning to Slide 10. Construction organic sales were down 1%, as our North American commercial sales were down 10%, primarily due to project timing in our warehouse growing business. North America residential was essentially flat, with 5% growth in renovation and remodel, offset by decline in new construction. Europe was a bright spot, with sales up 6%.

Australia and New Zealand sales were down 5% due to a slowing residential construction market there. Specialty organic sales were down 2% against the tough comp of plus 5% last year. This segment also had over 100 basis points of PLS in the quarter. International organic sales were down 8%, with some of the same soft spots that we saw in the third quarter, including appliance components and graphics.

Equipment sales were a bright spot, up 4%, and our Hi-Cone division, which we saw at our Investor Day, was up 13%. Moving on to Slide 11 and full-year 2018 performance. 2018 was a record year for EPS, operating income, operating margin of 24.3% and after-tax return of invested capital of 28.2%. Operating margin was up 60 basis points, driven primarily by another year of strong execution of Enterprise Initiatives, contributing 110 basis points.

Free cash flow was up 10% to $2.4 billion, with free cash flow conversion of 95%, slightly below our target, primarily due to the combination of modestly higher CAPEX investments and slightly elevated inventory levels at year end due to higher material costs. Finally, we executed $2 billion in share repurchases and increased the dividend by 28% this year. Looking back at 2018. We delivered on the annual EPS guidance that we provided as we entered the year, thus continuing our track record of exceeding our annual guidance for the past six years.

The consistency and quality of our financial performance as summarized here for 2018, are a testament to the power of ITW's proprietary business model, our high-quality diversified business portfolio and strong execution by the ITW team. Let's now turn to Slide 12 in 2019 guidance. We are reiterating our full-year EPS guidance from Investor Day in December, EPS of $7.90 to $8.20, with a midpoint of $8.05, which represents 6% growth year over year. We now expect organic growth in the range of 1% to 3%, compared to a range of 2% to 4% previously.

This reduction is entirely related to taking a more conservative, risk-adjusted view with regards to auto builds and semiconductor-related demand in 2019. This range also includes PLS of about 80 basis points, which is unchanged from December. We continue to firm up the projects and activities related to Enterprise Initiatives, and are confident that they will deliver 100 basis points of operating margin expansion, independent of volume. Also included in our plan are higher restructuring expense versus 2018, and we have a particularly heavy restructuring agenda in Q1.

This is driven, to a significant degree, by actions we are taking to right-size our automotive OEM and specialty businesses in Europe. The price cost equation remains pretty dynamic, but margin headwinds should continue to moderate as the majority of raw material costs appear to have stabilized, and we have strong pricing momentum heading into the year, with the vast majority of planned pricing actions already implemented. 2019 tariff expectations remain around $60 million, which is based on current and announced tariffs, including the potential impact of these three growing from 10% to 25% in March. We continue to view the overall tariff impact as manageable, given the fact that we are largely a produce-what-we-sell company, and that we only source approximately 2% of our spend from China.

Given the differentiated nature of our product offerings across the company, we expect to be able to offset the impact of any incremental raw material cost inflation and tariff impacts that might arise in 2019, with pricing actions on a dollar-for-dollar basis at a minimum, just as we did in 2018. Finally, we expect free cash flow conversion at or above 100% of net income, share repurchases of $1.5 billion and a tax rate in the range of 24.5% to 25.5%, up slightly from 24.5% in 2018 due to the non-repeat of discrete items. Taking a closer look at the first quarter. We should point out that we expect that the first half of 2019 will be a little more challenging than what is typical for us in terms of year-over-year comparisons due to more difficult comps, more currency headwind in the first half versus the second half of the year and higher Q1 restructuring costs.

Specifically, in Q1, we have $0.07 of currency headwind at current rates. The impact of higher restructuring, also $0.07, and $0.05 of tax rate headwind due to a discrete $14 million tax item that we recognized in Q1 of last year. There's also one last shipping day in Q1, which is another approximately $0.02 headwind to EPS and one and a half percentage points headwind to organic growth. It's important to note that we have an extra shipping day in Q3.

As a result, we expect Q1 EPS in the range of $1.73 to $1.83, an essentially flat organic growth. However, coming out of Q1, the headwinds I've just described start to moderate. Roughly 2/3 or $0.14 of the expected currency headwind this year is in the first half. Restructuring activities, as we discussed, are front-end loaded this year, and price cost margin impact should moderate as we go through the year.

It's important to note that our full year guidance is based entirely on current demand run rates. Existing and announced price cost impacts, known Enterprise Initiative benefits, and what we believe is a prudently risk-adjusted posture with regard to 2019 demand expectations in auto and semiconductor end-to-end markets. We do not have any projections of demand improvement versus current levels in our 2019 guidance. However, given what I just described, and the fact that revenue comps are much easier in the second half of the year, year-over-year revenue and earnings growth comparisons will get increasingly positive as we move through the year.

On Slide 13, we provided an EPS range for 2019 versus 2018. Organic growth of 1% to 3% at our normal incremental margin of 35% contributes to $0.20 to $0.30 to EPS growth. Benefits from Enterprise Initiatives add another $0.25 to $0.35. Lower share count represents the impact on the $2 billion of share repurchases completed in 2018 and the $1.5 billion planned for 2019.

Combined, they contribute approximately $0.25 a share . At current exchange rates, we anticipate $0.20 impact from foreign currency and approximately 2/3 of that impact is expected in the first half of the year as we talked about. And finally, we've moved a few things into other on this bridge. This includes our expectations for higher restructuring this year, approximately $0.10, with $0.07 of that in Q1; a higher tax rate than 2018 due to the non-repeat of discrete items, which is a $0.05 headwind, partially offset by lower interest expense by savings on the $1.35 billion in bond maturities in March and April.

These three items and a few other puts and takes combined to reduce EPS by $0.10 to $0.20. You'll note that there's no accommodation for potential M&A activity, specifically the potential divestitures that we talked about at Investor Day. Our guidance is all in, meaning, that the baseline presented here assumes our portfolio as it is today. We are making good progress on our potential divestitures, and we'll update you on our progress as we go through the year.

Importantly, as we said before, any EPS dilution from divestitures will be completely offset by incremental share repurchases, and are, therefore, EPS-neutral. Finally, we've provided our views on organic growth outlook by segment for full-year 2019 on Slide 14. These are based on current run rates, adjusted for seasonality, and are obviously influenced by year-over-year comparisons as we go through the year. It is important to note that there's no expectation of demand acceleration embedded in our guidance.

We see solid growth in Welding of 3% to 6%, down from 2018, but just as a function of the more difficult 10% comparison year-over-year. Food Equipment has good momentum and pretty easy comps in the first half and are expected to be up 3% to 5% for the full year. Construction of 1% to 4%, which also includes a number of meaningful new product launches. Test & Measurement incorporates a more cautious sales expectation for equipment related to semiconductor manufacturing.

Those sales represent approximately $200 million, and are expected to be down double digits in 2019. This creates a drag of two percentage points of organic growth to the test and measurement and electronics segment. Polymers and fluids and specialty, all with low single-digit growth expectation, and automotive, as we mentioned, we're being pretty cautious with sales expected to be flat to down 4% despite the fact that third parties, such as IHS, are expecting positive growths in the auto builds in 2019. Lastly, a comment about quarterly guidance.

From day one back in 2013, our strategy has been centered on leveraging ITW's powerful and proprietary business model to its full potential, and in doing so, positions the company to deliver softer growth, with best-in-class margins and returns over the long term. In the early stages of implementing our strategy, we believe that providing quarterly guidance was constructive, given the number and magnitude of the changes and initiatives that we were implementing across the company. We have now progressed far enough in executing our strategy, but we believe that providing quarterly guidance is no longer value added, given the long-term performance focus of the company and our core shareholders. As a result, we're discontinuing this practice as of this quarter.

We will continue to provide updated five-year performance goals and EPS and organic growth guidance annually. With that, Karen, back to you.

Karen Fletcher -- Vice President of Investor Relations

OK. Thanks, Michael. Cheryl, let's open up the lines for questions. 

Questions and Answers:

Operator

Our first question comes from Andy Casey from Wells Fargo Securities. Your line is open.

Andy Casey -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Thanks a lot. Good morning, everybody. Your guidance is pretty interesting. It looks like top line is more or less consistent with the bear case on the stock, but the bottom-line guide is what you said back in December.

So a couple of questions on the back-end loaded nature of what you just presented. First, why is price cost negative 50 bps for the year, given pricing momentum is carrying over? And from the outside, it looks like you look at apparent decreases in some of your raw material input costs? And then within that, do you expect price cost to improve through the year?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So Andy, price cost was negative 50 basis points from a margin standpoint in 2018. And we are not providing a number for 2019, primarily because it's still a pretty dynamic environment in terms of raw materials, as well as potential tariffs. That said, what you are -- what you're saying is correct.

I mean, it is reasonable to assume, based on what we know today, in terms of the price actions we've taken, the expected raw material costs, the tariffs, including the increase in March from 10% to 25% that may or may not happen, it is reasonable to assume that we will continue to make progress on price cost from a margin standpoint in 2019. And certainly, we will continue to be positive on a dollar-for-dollar basis to a degree that's significantly higher, actually, than what we saw in 2018. So I hope that answers your question.

Andy Casey -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

It does. And if I can also follow up on something else, Michael. In your commentary around the first half versus second half, Q1 midpoint implies about 6% earnings decline year over year, but the rest of the year is up around 9%. You sound pretty confident that in assuming the current run rates.

Is a majority of that confidence really related to the pull-ahead of the seven out of 10 for restructuring in the year into Q2? And basically, is that a big part of your confidence?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. I think what we're pulling forward in the restructuring, obviously, has a pretty big impact in Q1 here of $0.07. Some of those benefits will start to show up in the back end of the year. Many of these projects have a one-year payback or better in many cases.

In addition to the higher restructuring currency, it's more of a headwind in Q1. The tax rate is a headwind. And then we do have one less shipping day, as I mentioned, in Q1, and so...

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

That we got back in Q3.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

That we got back in Q3. That's why the year looks a little different relative to what you're used to from ITW, but there's some really good reasons behind that. And when you pencil it all out, you can get comfortable. We certainly are comfortable and very confident in our ability to deliver on the guidance that we're providing today.

Andy Casey -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

OK. Sounds good. Thank you very much.

Operator

Our next question comes from Jeffrey Sprague, Vertical Research. Your line is open.

Jeffrey Sprague -- Vertical Research Partners -- Analyst

Thank you. Good morning, everyone. I wonder if I can just dig into a couple of segment-level-detail questions. First on automotive and the whole emissions, WLTP had a log jam in Europe.

Your view that it doesn't really sort itself up in the second half, is that kind of well grounded in what you're hearing from the OEMs? Or is that really kind of just kind of caution on the chaos we've seen up to this point, and it's just kind of a hard to predict how things play out there?

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think it's a little bit of both, but more of the latter. I want to be careful how I say this, but I think the information has, in terms of direct customer, that's been a little bit up and down just because I think it's a fairly fluid situation. But I think our posture, from a planning standpoint, we believe it's definitely on the conservative side. And just to be clear, we're saying that things start to mitigate in the back half of normalized, but certainly aren't all the way corrected.

Probably, we'll begin with some elements of this all the way through the year is our current view.

Jeffrey Sprague -- Vertical Research Partners -- Analyst

OK. And just on the Construction side. I'm sorry, can you elaborate on what drove the commercial weakness in North America and the U.S.? And is there kind of visibility kind of a recovery plan there?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes, there is. So it's a fairly small part of our overall business in North America. Part of what we do is we provide concrete solutions for warehouse flooring. And we had a number of projects that we're scheduled to go in Q4 that pushed out to 2019.

So it's just primarily a timing issue more than a commentary on what's going on in the commercial construction space.

Jeffrey Sprague -- Vertical Research Partners -- Analyst

And maybe one just other really quick follow-up. Do you have some additional restructuring kind of on the shelf, for lack of a better term, if kind of the macro environment does begin to pick it on as soon as 2019 unfolds?

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, I would say, we normally operate with a fair degree of contingency planning around our plans, whether that's within a particular segment or at the overall company level. We certainly have the flexibility to make adjustments as we're talking about here related to auto and specialty in the near term. So -- and that's been sort of normal practice for the company for quite a long time. So should things, in terms of sort of the external macro environment, play out differently than what we're anticipating now, and again, I think we're taking a pretty conservative posture in terms of our planning approach year, then absolutely, we would expect to be able to adjust to that and do it in a relatively short order.

As I said, we had a pretty flexible cost structure given how we operate to maybe '20. So we could certainly make those adjustments within a quarter or two.

Jeffrey Sprague -- Vertical Research Partners -- Analyst

I appreciate the perspective. Thank you.

Operator

Our next question comes from Jamie Cook, Credit Suisse. Your line is open.

Jamie Cook -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. First, I just wanted to better understand. If we think about what -- your preliminary guide at the Analyst Meeting, the EPS is the same as it is today. You basically reaffirmed it, but your organic growth assumption is a point worse.

I don't recall if the restructuring number was in there, and also FX seems to be more of a headwind. So can you just sort of help me understand what's offsetting those headwinds relative to what you guys said at the Analyst Day? And then my second question is just with regards to the organic growth, the 2% for this year. One would argue in 2018 where the economy was relatively strong. You guys put up the same level of organic growth.

So just comfort level on -- you can put together -- or can put up another 2% organic growth in a tougher macro.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So let me start with the first part, which is a very fair question in terms of the organic growth guide today being lower than what we guided in December. Really, on the back of being more conservative around automotive builds, as well as factoring in the latest view on semiconductor-related end markets. As we've gone through these last few months here, we've really firmed up our views in terms of the enterprise savings from -- Enterprise Initiatives to specific projects and activities that will deliver 100 basis points of margin improvement as well as other discretionary cost items.

And so that's really what's driving the majority of our confidence and ability to maintain the EPS number. In addition to that, I would say, although I'm cautious on this, given what we saw in '18, the price/cost headwinds are certainly looking more favorable today than at the end of last year. And then just to be precise, the structure, I think, that we had in our guidance in December is the same number as today. And so that number has not changed.

I think the second part, if I remember correctly, was around our ability -- confidence to deliver 1% to 3% organic growth this year similar to last year. And I'll go back to how we modeled this, which is basically based on current run rates adjusted for seasonality. And if you run that out for the year, with the adjustments we made in auto and specialty, you get to a range of 1% to 3% organic growth. We provided a little more detail on the last slide, Slide 14, in the deck.

You can see how it kind of pencils out by segment. And again, these are based on current run rates, risk-adjusted on a couple of areas, and in our view, pretty cautious and conservative view, overall.

Jamie Cook -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

I guess, so just given that -- it's a weaker macro, there are certain segments where you are assuming that your market share is above average and that sort of helps the organic growth? I mean, can you talk about construction little? I'm just not sure if market share is contributing more, I mean, relative to just the overall whatever macro.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. I think construction, there's significant new product launches on the docket for this year. I'd say, in addition to that, I wouldn't underestimate the impact of price this year relative to '18. And so if you add all that up, these are the numbers that make up the guidance by segment and 1% to 3% in total.

Jamie Cook -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

OK. Thank you. I'll get back in the queue.

Operator

Our next question comes from Joel Tiss, BMO. Please go ahead. Your line is open. Joel Tiss, your line is open.

And moving along, our next question comes from Andrew Kaplowitz, Citibank. Please go ahead.

Andrew Kaplowitz -- Citi -- Analyst

Can you hear me? OK.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes, we got you.

Andrew Kaplowitz -- Citi -- Analyst

Yes. Scott or Mike, obviously, ITW is relatively strong in Europe, and you did mention that Europe would be up a couple of percent instead of down if it weren't for your issues in auto and specialty products. So maybe give us a little more color regarding what's going on in Europe. Construction actually looks like strong for you, guys, given the environment there.

And so -- and what's the outlook here as we go through 2019 in Europe?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. I think the issues on the international side are really isolated to the two segments we talked about. I think the other five segments are doing pretty well across the board. If you just look at fourth quarter, certainly, auto, specialty were down, but we put up some really good numbers in Europe.

Construction, overall, was up 6%; welding, up 7%; food, up 3%. We've not seen a big impact from Brexit or the U.K., those markets are pretty stable. So we feel pretty confident going into 2019 in terms of modeling our current run rates in that geography.

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And just maybe to add, I think in terms of -- I'm sorry, just another data point is, and if you net -- if you look at our European sales in Q3 and Q4, net of auto and specialty, it was plus 3% in Q3 and plus 2% in Q4. So we're certainly not -- which feels pretty stable to us not -- the 3% to 2% I don't know, we're certainly not calling that a trend. But sort of down single-digit, it's pretty solid.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes.

Andrew Kaplowitz -- Citi -- Analyst

OK, that's helpful, guys. And then there a couple of businesses that have been somewhat lethargic over the last couple of quarters. They looked like they ticked up a little bit here in the past quarter. I look at polymers and fluids and you mentioned that new product intro and auto aftermarket.

And then within food equipment, you mentioned retail refrigeration turning around. Do these businesses have some sustaining power here going forward? In other words, are you seeing a little bit more CAPEX from grocery stores, for instance, in food equipment? And does this new product rollout in auto aftermarket, does that give you continuing growth in the segment for the next few quarters?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes, so I'd say, Andy, that food equipment certainly feels very good. I think the acceleration we have started in second half, the strength is broad-based on the equipment side. Service put up a pretty good number here in the retail. On the retail side, just to be clear, we're not seeing a pickup in terms of the CAPEX spend on the grocery side.

We're really -- what we're seeing is, these are flat to up slightly on a year-over-year basis as we lapped the more difficult comps. But all the benefits that we expected in terms of new product introductions, certainly, we're seeing those in the second half of the year, and we expect those to continue into 2019. So Food Equipment, I'd say, 3% to 5% feels very good for 2019. Polymers and fluids, we did benefit from a new product launch in automotive aftermarket.

I hesitate to say this, but we were a beneficiary also of some weather-related impact in terms of Rain-X wiper blades. And so that part of the business was up 7% overall. That is not a sustainable rate for the full year, obviously. But I'd say also in polymers, you're seeing some good progress there in terms of the overall organic growth rate.

And like I've mentioned earlier, we're seeing the impact of price. So, certainly, some good progress in those two segments, and we should expect to continue to see that in 2019 as reflected in the segment outlook we gave you on Page 14.

Andrew Kaplowitz -- Citi -- Analyst

Appreciate it, guys.

Operator

Our next question comes from Mig Dobre from Baird. Your line is open.

Mig Dobre -- Baird -- Analyst

Yes. Good morning, guys. So I want to stick with food equipment here. I mean, 3% to 5% growth, this would probably be the best growth since '14, '15, that time range.

And I wanted to make sure that I understand kind of what the moving pieces are here. Retail, you said, feels a little bit better, but it's mostly a factor of comps. So I'm not sure how much you're really expecting this business to grow. Institutional, you mentioned, was quite good, so maybe you can talk a little bit about the momentum into 2019.

I'm also wondering, just your restaurant business, I think that's pretty meaningful as well. How that's doing international as well as North America?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes, Mig, so the demand we saw, really, here in Q3, Q4 was broad-based. So we've talked specifically about foodservice, which is everything, excluding the retail side being up 11%. Retail turned positive in the low single digits. We're not counting on a big pickup in retail in 2019, and it's not that significant portion of our overall business.

We continue to see a lot of strength on the institutional side, up double digits. Again, there are a couple of categories here, really, around education, so K-12, universities as well as lodging. And on the restaurant side also, double-digit growth, including, which for us is a smaller part of the business, on the QSR side. International, solid, up 3%.

I certainly feel good about the momentum going into 2019. Just Q4 was best growth rate, I think, in over four years here. So new product introductions are really taking off and we feel -- we're very pleased with the progress we're making in Food Equipment.

Mig Dobre -- Baird -- Analyst

Got it. That's helpful. And then sort of going back to the big-picture top line guidance. So if you're starting the year flat in Q1 and you're guiding on current levels of TAM and your comp is getting tougher in Q2 by at least 100 basis points, should we -- how about expectations for an organic decline in Q2 and then acceleration in the second half on easier comps? Is that how we should we be thinking about it?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

So Mig, you should definitely think about it as, just given the comps, higher growth rates in the back half of the year than in the first half. If you just go back and look at '18, I think in '18, we were up 3% organic, rounding in the first half, we're up 1% in the second half. That alone is driving some of the higher growth rates, both in terms of organic as well as earnings growth. So really, the swings you're going to see are really a function of what the comps are on a year-over-year basis.

Those are the big drivers. Again, there's no demand acceleration assumed here. On the contrary, if anything, we've dialed it back in, certainly, in auto as well as semi, which we talked about earlier.

Mig Dobre -- Baird -- Analyst

But there is not something on the products side or, I don't know, something based on some visibility that you might have that would be able to maybe reassure us that you'd be able to cross the tougher comp in Q2 versus Q1?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

There's -- typically, every year, new products contribute...

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And we're not managed for the quarter. The quarterly plans, we'll give you a Q2 update when we get there. Our expectation is, again, as Michael said, we're -- recent current demand levels and projecting them through the year, I'm -- we just go look at Q2. Well, this was a full year and a Q1 number.

I don't recall exactly what Q2 organic growth rate is embedded in our plan if we had it. And I think...

Mig Dobre -- Baird -- Analyst

No, I appreciate that. I was just trying to make sure that we have -- that's in line with what you guys are thinking, that's it.

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I think that math is -- there's nothing funny in the math here. This is really straightforward. As Michael said, we are , if anything, have to dialed back relative to current demand rates in a couple of areas where we think there's some potential risks. We're not seeing that it's going to play out that way.

I think, overall, that's the smart and prudent approach in terms of our planning. And it also highlights the fact that we've got a lot of earnings growth power from the standpoint of Enterprise Initiatives and other things going on underneath this, not vulnerable to some further erosion in auto if things play out. And ultimately, we've got a plan where we believe there's more upside potential than downside. That's why we always plan, and that's really what we're, I think, embedded in the approach we're taking in terms of taking the organic growth rate down a percent relative to where we were in December

Mig Dobre -- Baird -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you. Appreciate it.

Operator

Our next question comes from John Inch, Gordon Haskett. Your line is open.

George Inch -- Gordon Haskett -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning, everybody.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

George Inch -- Gordon Haskett -- Analyst

Michael, so wondering if there's kind of an update on the divestitures that you planned for this year? And just as kind of corollary to that, Michael, if we were actually to have taken the 2019 divestitures that you've got out and divested them at beginning of the year, kind of pro forma, would that have any material impact on the 1% to 3% core growth that you're just betting for 2019?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So that's a very good question. So the impact is these potential divestitures all happen is an improvement in our organic growth rate of about 50 basis points and improvement in our operating margins by 100 basis points. So that would -- assuming that all of those take place this year, that's what we would expect to see in 2020.

I think that's a fairly optimistic assumption. I think we're certainly making good progress, and I think a more reasonable planning assumption would be maybe half of them get done this year. But none of that is included in the numbers today. So, certainly, you'll see some slightly lower revenues to the effect that if there is EPS dilution, you'll see higher share repurchases to offset that, so that they are EPS-neutral.

There's going to be some gains on some of these potential divestitures, those are also not included. But on pro forma basis, it's a meaningful impact and we're making good progress.

George Inch -- Gordon Haskett -- Analyst

If there some reason you couldn't -- I mean I know you said half, but it's not a bad point, right, to pick. But to some reason, if you start to get a cadence going -- because I'm assuming you're not doing them sequentially one after another, you've got kind of books out more than one. I mean, why couldn't these things hit sooner? Is it just -- I guess, I don't really understand why. Because, there's not a lot of companies, right, why we couldn't we get most of this done in '19?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I'll pass's that on to the steering committee in charge of the divestiture activities, John. Look, we prioritized, in terms of the biggest impact of the company, we're going to try to get those done for us. We're not in a rush here. We're going to be very liberate and thoughtful in terms of how we execute of this and maximizing the value for the company.

And so...

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

And I'll just quibble a little bit with your perspective in terms of -- there's a decent amount of work involved in each one in terms of preparing them to separate from ITW and all the things we need to do to...

George Inch -- Gordon Haskett -- Analyst

I look in the ivory tower, so I got it.

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I don't want to go to that part, John, but I was just -- I think we've got a good cadence, we've got good plans that we are finalizing now in terms of being very deliberate and intentional about how we go back about it. But as Michael said, I think that the reality of it is probably a two-year process to move all the way through. And of course, everything that we can do to make it happen faster, we would certainly do that. But at this point, we also are not -- that's not the No.

1 priority right now. So kind of balance with everything else that we are trying to work on and make progress there.

George Inch -- Gordon Haskett -- Analyst

So just on the polymers business, I know Michael you called that the auto aftermarket likely not to see that cadence, that make sense. Was there any kind of a pre-buy in that business maybe associated with getting ahead of some cost increases or price increases that's also potentially contributing to the 1% to 3%, kind of slight deceleration?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

John, we did not see that in polymers and fluids, and actually, in any of our other segments as we went through the fourth quarter here. The quarter played out as it usually does on a monthly basis. There's really nothing unusual, as we mentioned in the quarter, including in polymers and fluids.

George Inch -- Gordon Haskett -- Analyst

The other question I had is, oil and gas prices have come down obviously, since the December meeting. I know we're talking about raw increases, but I was wondering about the indirect impact or even direct impact of those hydrocarbon pricings coming down? I realize you could buy a lot of metals, like, in metals derivatives. But is there possibly some sort of once we get the impact of this, is there some sort of potential net tailwind, that kind of begins to accrue to you later this year or something?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Eventually, the answer is yes. I don't know whether that will be at end of this year or not. I mean, there certainly is tailwind today on a dollar-for-dollar basis, and as I said earlier. While raw material cost increases, they're just a carryover from last year, still a pretty significant number in 2019.

It's less than 2018, and we are certainly significantly ahead on a dollar-for-dollar basis. So to that extent, it is providing some tailwind here.

George Inch -- Gordon Haskett -- Analyst

Got it. One last one. I mean, companies used to talk about, I think they still do selectively, kind of these cost pressures that are embodied by wages. If you just focus on the U.S., what's actually happening to your U.S.

wage cost, given what appeared to be tight employment markets? I mean, are wages going up materially in '19? I don't remember if you call that out much early in '19 versus '18. Is that any kind of a factor here?

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We have not -- I think there would be a -- from the standpoint of aggregate, North American wages, I am summarizing a lot of individual data points, but things are up tens of decimal points, maybe relative to sort of planned increases in prior years, but nothing that I will consider to be material in terms of the impact on the overall company at this point.

George Inch -- Gordon Haskett -- Analyst

Got it. All right. Thanks, guys. Appreciate it.

Operator

And our next question comes from Ross Gilardi. Your line is open.

Ross Gilardi -- Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Good morning. Thanks, guys. Just on auto, I think you said that you're assuming flat to negative 4% for '19. Can you give us any type of breakdown by region, particularly since you were saying that you're not assuming any acceleration in the second half.

I would just think, given like what's going on in China right now, to get to flat to negative 4% and just the pressures in that end markets globally, that you'd have to assume some reacceleration for now to be down more than that.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So there's a lot of uncertainty around the numbers that third parties are providing on a geographic basis. I think best I can tell you is when we were together in December, the view was that our auto business would be flat on markets that, globally, would be down 2% to 3%. We gave that a further risk adjustment here relative to what we said in December.

And I can't really give you a view by quarter here as the year plays out. I'll give you the actuals when we get through Q2, Q3 and Q4, but I can't really give you a guidance around that.

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

We got people who study this, like IHS out with a projection of plus 2% on builds entirely for the year, plus 1% in North America and I think down a couple, I think, globally, they're plus 1%, we're at zero to minus 4%. They're that -- it's just one data point, but there are people that study this that have, I'm calling an optimistic view, but I think we're back to the comment we're making earlier about, making sure that we're appropriately conservative there, where there's some uncertainty, but we're not -- I don't think we're on the high side of optimism relative to what most of our these third parties that we look at, studying these markets, that's going on in '19. We're on the conservative side of them.

Ross Gilardi -- Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Just on the restructuring, the $0.07, and I think the $0.10 for the year. What is it actually for? I mean, is it headcount related? Or is it five-year Enterprise Initiative. I think you mentioned where is it again?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

So this is primarily focused on rightsizing our footprint. In Europe, there's two businesses, the automotive business, as well as the specialty business. And beyond that, we typically don't comment on specific restructuring projects.

Ross Gilardi -- Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

OK. On that, Michael, I mean, you had said that clearly, there's some pressures guide to what you're describing it earlier, but it sounded like if you thought things were normalizing, that you're not losing share. And it's kind of a timing issue of when the market actually improves. So why restructure the European auto business if that's the case?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Well, we're just moving faster on some things. We still got an acquisition that we did two years ago that is the restructuring, I would say, is normally -- normal part of the integration of that business. It's a fairly good piece of that. We are accelerating some of that, given the environment in pause in demand, it's a good time to get after some of that.

There's some things that we've been -- that we would've gotten to anyway. It's the easiest way to describe it, that I would say we have accelerated into the front end of the year, given the pause in the demand these things are in some ways -- it's better timing if we can get them done when we're not also dealing with some increases and demand. That's probably a better characterization of it. Front-end loaded, that's what we're doing.

Ross Gilardi -- Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

And just the last one. On test and measurement, I mean, you guys have got 140 basis points of margin expansion with real organic growth in the business in the fourth quarter, which is pretty impressive. But is that type of a margin expansion sustainable in the 2019 in a flattish environment for that segment?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I think we said the ways to go in terms of further margin expansion in test and measurement, and that's based on what the, bottoms-up, what the team is telling us. What you're really seeing is the impact of the Enterprise Initiatives in test and measurement. And I think it's another data point that supports the view that we have and the confidence that we have and the ability to continue to expand margins in 2019 and beyond as we've talked about in December. We believe we have, at least another three to four percentage points of margin expansion ahead of, us and test and measurement has at least that level of improvement ahead of it in that over the next three to four years.

Ross Gilardi -- Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

OK. Thank you very much.

Operator

Our next question comes from Joe Ritchie, Goldman Sachs. Your line is open.

Joe Ritchie -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Thank you. Good morning, everyone.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Joe Ritchie -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

So just on your WLTP comments from earlier, I just wanted to make sure that I understand it. If your platforms are being disproportionately impacted, do you have a sense or line of sight on the approval for those platforms getting through the testing requirements? And shouldn't that just reverse itself at some point in 2019?

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, it should reverse itself at some point. The answer to your question is we don't have a great line of sight because it's a new test and I don't want to speak for the auto OEMs in Europe. But what we're hearing is that there's a some uncertainty and some challenges. It's not that it can't be done, it is a new testing procedure, and that the backlog involved in getting all of these, all of their models through it has been much more of a challenge than, perhaps, what's expected.

I don't know, I'm not -- again, we're drawing some conclusions over -- around based on a number of different data points. So my answer to your question is, absolutely, it should sort itself out. I think there's still a question how long it takes to do so. And that's an element of our, let's call it, conservatism in terms of our posture around that.

There is -- people are still buying cars in Europe. There's nothing in terms of -- or consumption data in auto that gives you a whole lot of reason for pause, at least to us at this point, it's much more about the disruption in the production part relative to the emissions testing regime. And I don't really think it's smooth sailing from here, let's say, in terms of how that all plays out based on what we hear.

Joe Ritchie -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

That's fair, Scott. And I guess, just a quick follow up on that. You guys give us guidance on the whole growth outlook for test measurement and electronics. Just wondering, and I know that you've got the current run rate, but the Electronics business, I guess, we've been seeing some softness and all.

And any color on that business, specifically, and what you are seeing in terms of this perspective will be helpful.

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

No most of our position in the electronics space is really more, I would say, MRO-related. So we're not -- with a couple of exceptions, just one in seven. We're not sort of upstream in terms of production equipment. So, that from our standpoint, the Electronics has been pretty stable.

But it's -- but we're able to describe this pretty downstream from the standpoint of where we participate there.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. Clean room, MRO items.

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

MRO items. Non-production items.

Operator

And our next question comes from Ann Duignan. Your line is open.

Ann Duignan -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Good morning. Most of my questions have been asked, so just philosophic, I just wanted to ask about pulling that quarterly guidance, I'm just curious about timing. And what are your thoughts through the fact that with that quarterly guidance, the probability is that in the sales side, estimates will be more variable. And then, you're more likely to meet some of these expectations and, therefore, have greater earnings volatility, which actually meant covering the multiple on itself.

So I'm just curious why you chose now to not giving quarterly guidance?

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Well, since we're having this one in six years, we thought we would try something different. I'm just kidding. I think, ultimately, we talked to a lot of our shareholders, and there's a fair amount of effort that goes into providing it. There is philosophical differences around, again, what we think the core investor value proposition for ITW which is really around strength of competitive advantage in the business model, resilience in terms of high-quality diversified portfolio, all of those things are really oriented toward longer time periods of performance.

And given all that, I think this is -- we felt like we have -- as I think Michael said in his remarks, it was valuable early in the process, given -- talking about the enterprise strategy now. And then, at this point, we've progressed, starting upwards. It's not value-added anymore. And the last thing I would say and this will be a little smirky, and I don't intend to be, but we listen to your boss, Jamie Dimon, who told us that -- and a lot of companies should be doing this.

I'm just kidding.

Operator

And our next question comes from Steven Fisher, UBS. Your line is open.

Steven Fisher -- UBS -- Analyst

Thanks. Good morning. I just wanted to follow up on the oil and gas question, more from the revenue side of things. Just wondering to what extent you're seeing any change in momentum in the oil and gas business in the last two, three months or so, and how that's filtering into your, primarily, I guess the 3% to 6% growth in your welding business?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. Our exposure is pretty limited, overall, to oil and gas. It's primarily on the international side in the Welding business. And we've just started to see a pickup in oil and gas here in Q3 and Q4, we gave you the number here.

And we haven't seen any changes over the last couple of months, if that's what you're asking.

Operator

And our next question comes from Nicole DeBlase, Deutsche Bank. Your line is open.

Nicole DeBlase -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Yes. Thanks. Good morning.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Nicole DeBlase -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Given that some of the, I guess, some of the commentary around why organic growth is a little bit lower for the full year is semiconductor's Electronics. I guess, I'm curious, I don't think that, that came up in your commentary within T&M. Are you guys actually starting to see a slowdown in semiconductor spend, or is that just anticipated to occur throughout 2019?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

So we did see a slowdown here in Q4, not entirely unexpected. And again, it's in the portion of test and measurement that sells equipment for the upfront manufacturing of -- in the semiconductor space. And we did see a slowdown here in Q4. In the past, there've been talks about a pause, and then a pick up again in the back end of 2019.

And we have taken all that out and basically assumed current run rates based on what we saw in Q4 and, therefore, in our view, appropriately, risk-adjusted for any exposure in semiconductor.

Operator

Our next question comes from Nathan Jones from Stifel. Your line is open.

Nathan Jones -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

Good morning, everyone.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Nathan Jones -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

A couple of follow-ups on the Welding business there. Obviously, some good organic growth, but I know that business does sell a lot of steel. So maybe if you could give us some color on what the input is from volumes versus price, both in the fourth quarter, and what the pricing tailwind to revenue, at least, is in 2019.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So Nathan, we do not break out price versus volume at the enterprise level or by segment, including for Welding. So I'm afraid I can't give you that.

Nathan Jones -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

OK, no worries. Just one on the Construction business. You talked about new product releases on slide for this year. Can you talk about when you expect those to start hitting the market? And any color you could give on the anticipated contribution?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. So it's a pretty long list of new products centered around our cordless technology where ITW is the market leader. They come in throughout the year the various geographies. Typically, the contribution from new products is somewhere in the 1% range in terms of overall revenue growth, and we expect it, just based on the pipeline, to be a little bit higher than that in construction this year.

Operator

Our next question comes from Josh Pokrzywinski from Morgan Stanley. Your line is open.

Josh Pokrzywinski -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Hi. Good morning.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Good morning.

Josh Pokrzywinski -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

Just to follow up on -- Michael, I get the -- part of your answer to the last question that you don't really want to break out price at the enterprise level. But it seems like some of the confidence in the year comes from maybe a bit more pricey yield and perhaps some commercial initiatives that offset some of that auto commentary. Is that a fair assessment relative to prior years, that you guys just feel like outside of, perhaps, auto that you're carrying a bit more price than usual and able to kind of hold up, at least, any downside scenario?

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

I don't know if you really thought about it the way you're articulating it. I mean, but certainly, like I said earlier, in six out of seven segments, so excluding auto, there's -- we've taken pricing actions to offset raw material cost inflation and tariff impact. And so to the extent that we'll probably have a little bit more price coming through in '19 than in '18, and that certainly helps the overall organic growth rate.

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

But we offset price every year.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes, we get price every year. Maybe a little bit more '19 than '18, but it's not a big driver year.

Operator

And our next question comes from David Raso, Evercore ISI. Your line is open.

David Raso -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Hi, good morning. I had another question, but just wanted to circle back first on the organic sales guide. I mean, I just wanted to make sure the takeaway is correct. The idea of the first quarter being flat.

The second quarter, you do expect it to improve? I'm just making sure we are all level set, just given the idea that it's flat in the first quarter, if the first -- second quarter is not at least one or two, it makes the second half, obviously, a little more of a struggle. So I just wanted to make sure we're level set on that. So if you can you give us some perspective. And then my real question, food and welding, food and welding are going to be over 55% in dollar terms of your EBIT growth, I mean, inside the organic sales growth.

In those businesses, it's good to see food pick up on a year-over-year basis in the fourth quarter. Can you give us any help with -- not a backlog number, an order number. Just something kind of looking into '19 that give us some perspective of the starting point of growth, sort of already booked relative, or just given their significance to the overall growth versus '19?

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

I'll answer the second and throw it back to Michael for the first. These are all short-cycled businesses are from the standpoint of we get an order today, we ship it tomorrow. What I can tell you is book-to-bill in both businesses in Q4 was positive. So order rates are at or above shipment rates in Q4.

We don't build -- these aren't big backlog businesses, is my point. These are -- given the way we deliver, we get an order today, we ship it tomorrow. And we don't build backlogs, so -- but from the standpoint of just order rates relative to shipment rates, things in Q4 in both businesses were pretty solid.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Yes. That's where I was going to go with this. Welding just grew organic 8% on a tough comp. They're up 6% in Q4 last year.

Food equipment, up 5% organic, so good momentum in those two businesses. In terms of the Q1, Q2 question, without telling you anything new, really, I mean, I think we did say that we have 1 less shipping day in the first quarter, which lowers our overall organic growth rate by mathematically a point and a half. We do not have that headwind in Q2. So I don't know if that helps you in terms of what Q2 might look like.

That's probably the best I can give you.

David Raso -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

No. I appreciate it. Just if you do zero-2%, then it's 3.5%-2.5%, it feels a little bit better than zero-zero. That's all.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

David, keep in mind that one and a half percent in Q1, mathematically, we lose one less day, we get that back in Q3.

David Raso -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

Exactly, exactly. I just wanted to make sure we weren't starting the second quarter at one or less, so it just gets more challenging. But no, I appreciate it.

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Sure.

Karen Fletcher -- Vice President of Investor Relations

OK, thank you. Yes, thank you. So we've a bit over. If you have any other questions or follow up, please reach out to me today, and thank you for your time this morning.

Operator

[Operator signoff]

Duration: 74 minutes

Call Participants:

Karen Fletcher -- Vice President of Investor Relations

Scott Santi -- Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Michael Larsen -- Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Andy Casey -- Wells Fargo Securities -- Analyst

Jeffrey Sprague -- Vertical Research Partners -- Analyst

Jamie Cook -- Credit Suisse -- Analyst

Andrew Kaplowitz -- Citi -- Analyst

Mig Dobre -- Baird -- Analyst

George Inch -- Gordon Haskett -- Analyst

Ross Gilardi -- Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Joe Ritchie -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Ann Duignan -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Steven Fisher -- UBS -- Analyst

Nicole DeBlase -- Deutsche Bank -- Analyst

Nathan Jones -- Stifel Financial Corp. -- Analyst

Josh Pokrzywinski -- Morgan Stanley -- Analyst

David Raso -- Evercore ISI -- Analyst

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