Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. MTD delivered first-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of $4.10 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4 cents and also came ahead of management’s guided range of $4-$4.05 per share. The figure increased 10% on a year-over-year basis but declined 40.1% sequentially.
Net sales of $679.45 million were up 3% year over year but decreased 16.9% from the previous quarter. In local currency, sales grew 7% from the year-ago quarter, exceeding management’s expectation of 5.5% growth. Further, the figure surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $674.29 million.
The robust performance of Laboratory and Industrial product lines drove the top line. Further, the company’s solid momentum in China and Europe aided growth.
Coming to the price performance, shares of Mettler-Toledo have gained 31.6% over a year, outperforming the industry’s rally of 17.6%.
The company remains confident on growth strategies that include productivity and margin initiatives. Moreover, Mettler-Toledo’s continued investments in product portfolio expansion, field force, Spinnaker sales and marketing programs are expected to continue benefiting business growth.
Top Line in Detail
By Segments: The company reports in three segments — Laboratory Instruments, Industrial Instruments and Food Retail Weighing Solutions.
Laboratory Segment: This segment accounted for 53% of net sales in the reported quarter. The company witnessed 8% sales growth on a year-over-year basis. This was driven by robust Process Analytics, Analytical Instruments and pipettes. Further, investments in biopharma area, Spinnaker sales, marketing initiatives and R&D contributed to the segment.
Industrial Segment: The company generated 40% of net sales from this segment. Further, sales exhibited year-over-year growth of 8%. This can primarily be attributed to well performing product inspection business, which exhibited growth of 6% on a year-over-year basis. Further, core industrial business which improved 9% year over year on the back of Spinnaker sales and marketing efforts continued to drive the segment’s growth.
Food Retail: Mettler-Toledo generated 7% of sales from the food retail business. However, the sales declined 5% from the prior-year quarter, owing to nature of the project.
The company reports total sales figure from Americas, Europe and Asia/Rest of the World.
Americas: Mettler-Toledo generated 38% of sales from this region, up 3% year over year. This was driven by well-performing core industrial and product inspection business. Further, robust Laboratory segment contributed to the first-quarter results. However, retail business underperformed in this region.
Europe: This region contributed 31% to the net sales of the company in the reported quarter. Sales in this region grew 9% year over year which can be attributed to strong performance of core industrial and product inspection businesses. Further, robust Laboratory and Food Retailing product lines contributed to the reported quarter.
Asia/Rest of the World: The company generated 31% of sales from this region, reflecting growth of 9% on a year-over-year basis. This can primarily be attributed to strong performance of the company in China. Further, strong Laboratory and Industrial product lines drove sales.
Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. Quote
Gross margin was 57.2%, expanding 50 bps year over year, on the back of productivity and pricing.
Research & development (R&D) expenses were $36.05 million, up 3.9% from the year-ago quarter. Selling, general & administrative (SG&A) expenses increased 1.9% year over year to $204.43 million.
Adjusted operating margin was 21.8%, expanding 70 bps from the prior-year quarter.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
As of Mar 31, 2019, the company’s cash and cash equivalents balance was $126.5 million, down from $178.1 million as of Dec 31, 2018.
Long-term debt was $1 billion, rising from $985 million in the previous quarter.
Mettler-Toledo generated $98.8 million of cash from operating activities, up from $198.6 million in the prior quarter. Free cash flow was $80.2 million during the reported quarter.
For second-quarter 2019, Mettler-Toledo expects sales growth of 5.5% in local currency. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for sales is pegged at $735.8 million.
Adjusted earnings are anticipated in the range of $5.05-$5.10 per share, reflecting year-over-year growth of 9-10%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings is pegged at $5.06 per share.
For 2019, the company raised expectation for sales growth from 5% to 5.5% in local currency. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $3.03 billion.
The company also revised the guidance for adjusted earnings upwards to $22.55-$22.75 per share from $22.5-$22.7 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $22.67 per share.
Zacks Rank and Other Stocks to Consider
Mettler-Toledo currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Some other top-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector are Intuit Inc. INTU, VMware, Inc. VMW and Agilent Technologies, Inc. A. All the three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Long-term earnings growth rate for Intuit, VMware and Agilent is pegged at 16.21%, 13.4% and 11.75%, respectively.
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