The Middleby Corporation MIDD reported better-than-expected results for the fourth quarter of 2018, delivering positive earnings surprise of 9.8%. In addition to results and the solid guidance, this machinery company impressed the market with the announcement of an agreement to acquire Cooking Solutions Group of Standex International Corporation SXI.
It is worth noting here that the company’s share price has increased roughly 5% on Feb 27, ending the trading session at $125.22.
Inside the Headlines
Middleby’s adjusted earnings in the reported quarter were $1.79 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.63. Further, the bottom line increased 10.5% from the year-ago quarter figure of $1.62 on the back of sales growth and improved margins.
For 2018, the company’s adjusted earnings were $6.10 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.98. Also, the bottom line decreased roughly 1% from the year-ago figure of $6.16 per share.
Organic Sales and Acquired Assets Drive Revenues
In the quarter under review, Middleby’s sales were $756.7 million, reflecting year-over-year growth of 19.6%. Organic revenues in the quarter grew 3.3% year over year. Acquired assets and adoption of ASC 606 increased sales by 17.2% and 0.5%, respectively, in the quarter. However, unfavorable movements in foreign currencies had a negative impact of 1.5% on revenues.
Also, the top line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $733.1 million by 3.2%.
The company reports net sales under three segments. A brief discussion on those segments is provided below:
Sales from Commercial Foodservice Equipment Group (representing 64% of the reported quarter’s net sales) were $484.2 million, increasing 27% year over year. Organic revenues in the quarter grew 5.3%. At the end of the quarter, order backlog was $134.5 million, increasing 27.9% year over year.
Sales from Residential Kitchen Equipment Group (representing 20.3% of the reported quarter’s net sales) totaled $153.4 million, decreasing 1.3% year over year. Weakness in the AGA Rangemaster business offset the positive impacts of 15% growth in revenues generated from Viking. At the end of the quarter, backlog of orders was $47.8 million, up 36.6% year over year.
Sales from Food Processing Equipment Group (representing 15.7% of the reported quarter’s net sales) were $119.1 million, increasing 23.8% year over year. Organic sales were flat year over year. Order backlog at the end of the quarter was $103.5 million, increasing 68% year over year.
For 2018, the company’s sales totaled $2.72 billion, increasing 16.6% year over year. Also, it surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.70 billion.
In the quarter under review, Middleby’s cost of sales increased 21.2% year over year to $476.1 million. It represented 62.9% of sales compared with 62.1% in the year-ago quarter. Gross profit increased 16.8% year over year to $280.6 million. Gross margin decreased 80 basis points (bps) to 37.1% due mainly to margin weakness in the Food Processing Equipment Group and impacts of acquisitions. However, positive impacts of the adoption of ASC 606 created tailwinds.
Selling, general and administrative expenses increased 19.5% year over year to $139.5 million. It represented 18.4% of sales in the reported quarter. Operating income in the quarter under review increased 122.5% year over year to $140 million. Operating margin grew 860 bps to 18.5%. Net interest expenses and deferred financing amortization totaled $20.4 million, up compared with $7.9 million in the year-ago quarter.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
Exiting the fourth quarter, Middleby had cash and cash equivalents of $71.7 million, down 6.3% from $76.6 million at the end of the last reported quarter. Long-term debt decreased 3.4% sequentially to $1,888.9 million.
In 2018, the company generated net cash of $368.9 million from operating activities, increasing 21.2% from $304.5 million generated in 2017. Capital spent on the addition of property and equipment totaled $36 million, decreasing 33.9% from $54.5 million used in the previous year.
Notably, Cooking Solutions Group specializes in manufacturing and providing food merchandisers, ovens, warmers and fryers. It is based in Texas and has well-known brands, including BKI, Bakers Pride, APW Wyott and Ultrafryer. Revenues generated in 2018 totaled $100 million.
The completion of the transaction will be after the receipt of regulatory approvals.
For 2019, Middleby anticipates its focus on innovation as well as increasing adoption of automated conveyorized and ventless cooking equipment to prove beneficial for its Commercial Foodservice Equipment Group. Business with major restaurant chains will continue to flourish while internationally, it may face hurdles in Europe and the U.K. markets.
The company also noted that acquisitions, including EVO America and Crown Food Service Equipment (December 2018), Taylor Company (June 2018), Josper (May 2018), Firex (April 2018), and some assets of JoeTap (March 2018) will help solidify Commercial Foodservice Equipment Group.
For Residential Kitchen Equipment Group, the company anticipates gaining from its Viking business. North American businesses are likely to flourish in the year while uncertainties in international operations, especially in the U.K. might be concerning.
For Food Processing Equipment Group, product innovation and launch of products will benefit results while issues related to the meat processing line of operations might be concerning.
Zacks Rank & Other Key Picks
With a market capitalization of approximately $6.7 billion, Middleby currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
Two other top-ranked stocks in the industry are Roper Technologies, Inc. ROP and Dover Corporation DOV. The stocks currently carry a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
In the past 60 days, earnings estimates for 2019 have improved for Roper and Dover. Further, the earnings surprise in the last reported quarter was positive 2.88% for Roper and 10.85% for Dover.
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