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Universal Forest Products' (UFPI) Q1 Earnings Beat, Up Y/Y

Zacks Equity Research

Universal Forest Products, Inc. UFPI reported solid first-quarter 2019 results, wherein both the top and bottom lines not only surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but also increased on a year-over-year basis. Notably, the company increased semiannual dividend by 11.1% to 20 cents per share, payable on Jun 15, 2019 to its shareholders of record on Jun 1.

The company reported earnings of 58 cents per share during the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of 51 cents by 13.7%. Also, the reported figure increased 9.4% from 53 cents recorded in the year-ago quarter.

Net sales of $1,015 million surpassed analysts’ expectation of $963 million by 5.4%. Moreover, the company’s top line grew 2.1% on a year-over-year basis on the back of increased unit sales.

Universal Forest Products, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Universal Forest Products, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Universal Forest Products, Inc. Quote

It classifies top-line results based on end-markets served. A brief snapshot of end-market sales has been provided below:

Investors should note that Universal Forest Products’ end-market sales sum up to total gross sales. Gross sales during the reported quarter came in at $1,031.6 million, up 2% from the year-ago period. Roughly 7% of this growth was attributable to unit sales improvement, of which 4% was contributed by organic sales and 3% by acquisitions. However, lower lumber prices reduced gross sales by 5%. Nonetheless, new product sales were $99.9 million, up 8% year over year.

Retail (34.6% of gross sales): The segment’s sales dropped 3% year over year to $357.5 million. Selling prices fell 6% from the prior-year quarter, offsetting the 3% increase in unit sales, primarily impacted by unfavorable weather in February.

Industrial (32%): Sales in the segment totaled $329.7 million, reflecting growth of 15% from the year-ago period. In the reported quarter, unit sales increased 15%, however, lower pricing impacted sales by 1%.

Construction (33.4%): The segment’s sales of $344.4 million were down 3% year over year. Selling prices declined 8% from the year-ago quarter, offsetting the 5% increase in unit sales. Unit sales in commercial and residential market rose 15% and 6%, respectively, while that of manufactured housing market fell 6% during the quarter. The decline was mainly due to lower shipments in several Gulf Coast states, which had experienced higher shipments in the year-ago period due to damage caused by hurricane.

Operating Highlights

Cost of goods sold, as a percentage of net sales, improved 200 basis points (bps) to 84.8% versus 86.8% in the year-ago quarter. Gross margin of 15.2% marked an improvement of 200 bps to 15.2%, backed by timely position buying, and favorable contributions from new products and businesses.

Selling, general and administrative expenses, accounting for 10.4% of net sales, were up 100 bps year over year. Operating margin expanded 40 bps to 4.8%. EBITDA came in at $65.9 million, reflecting an increase of 25% year over year.

Balance Sheet & Cash Flow

At the end of the quarter, cash and cash equivalents were $17.1 million, down from $25.3 million in the comparable year-ago period. Long-term debt and capital lease obligations of $266.4 million grew 2% year over year.

In first-quarter 2019, net cash used in operating activities totaled $55.8 million, lower than $84.2 million recorded a year ago.

Zacks Rank & Other Stocks to Consider

Universal Forest Products currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other top-ranked stocks in the Zacks Construction sector include PotlatchDeltic Corporation PCH, Trex Company, Inc. TREX and PulteGroup, Inc. PHM, each carrying a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

PotlatchDeltic has a strong earnings surprise history, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters, with the average positive surprise being 17.1%.

Trex and PulteGroup has a solid record of earnings surprises, having surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in all the trailing four quarters, with the average being 11.2% and 13.5%, respectively.

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