Xylem Inc. XYL reported weaker-than-expected results for the first quarter of 2019, with earnings lagging estimates by 10.3%. This came in after two consecutive quarters of reporting in-line results.
Adjusted earnings in the quarter under review were 52 cents per share, lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 58 cents. However, on a year-over-year basis, the bottom line increased 2% from the year-ago figure of 51 cents.
Bottom-line results include adverse impact of 5 cents per share from unfavorable movements in foreign currencies.
Organic Growth Drives Revenues
Xylem’s revenues were $1,237 million in the quarter under review, reflecting growth of 1.6% from the year-ago quarter. Organic sales in the quarter expanded 6% on the back of strengthening end markets. Businesses in emerging markets and the United States were healthy.
This improvement was driven by 6% organic sales growth, partially offset by 4% adverse impact of foreign currency translations.
However, the top line lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,249 million.
Orders in the quarter under review were flat year over year at $1,315 million. Organically, orders reflect growth of 4%.
On a geographical basis, organic sales in the reported quarter improved 11% in the United States and 12% in the emerging market while declined 2% in Western Europe. Alternatively, organic revenues grew 6% in public utility end market, 4% in industrial, 12% in commercial and 4% in residential.
The company reports net sales under three segments — Water Infrastructure, Applied Water, and Measurement & Control Solutions. The segmental information is briefly discussed below:
Revenues in the Water Infrastructure segment were $482 million, up 0.4% year over year. This upside stemmed from improved utilities as well as industrial end-market demand.
The Applied Water segment generated revenues of $379 million in the first quarter, up 3.6% year over year. This upswing primarily stemmed from the robust commercial end-market.
Quarterly revenues of the Measurement & Control Solutions segment were $376 million, up 1.3% year over year. This improvement stemmed from growth in the water sector business in North America.
Operating Margin Falls Y/Y
In the quarter under review, Xylem’s cost of sales increased 0.8% year over year to $763 million while selling, general and administrative expenses expanded 2.4% to $303 million, and research and development expenses grew 24.4% to $51 million.
Adjusted operating income in the quarter under review decreased 1.5% year over year to $133 million. Also, adjusted operating margin decreased 30 basis points (bps) to 10.8% due to adverse impacts of sales mix and cost-related issues.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow
Exiting the first quarter, Xylem had cash and cash equivalents of $275 million, down 7.1% from $296 million at the end of the last reported quarter. Long-term debt balance decreased 0.3% sequentially to $2,044 million.
In the first quarter, the company generated net cash of $83 million from operating activities, reflecting growth of 31.7% from the year-ago quarter. Capital expenditure was $69 million, above $61 million in the first quarter of 2018. Free cash flow in the quarter was $14 million.
During the quarter, the company paid dividends amounting to $44 million and repurchased shares worth $39 million.
For 2019, Xylem maintained revenues guidance at $5.3-$5.4 billion, reflecting year-over-year growth of 2-4%. Organic sales are still predicted to increase 4-6%.
Adjusted operating margin will likely be 14.5-14.9%, down from 14.7-15.2% due to weak first-quarter results (4-cents impact) and continued prevalence of forex woes (4-cents impact). Adjusted earnings will likely be $3.12-$3.32, down from $3.20-$3.40 per share mentioned earlier. The revised projection reflects year-over-year growth of 8-15%.
Xylem Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Xylem Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Xylem Inc. Quote
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
With a market capitalization of roughly $15 billion, Xylem currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the industry are DXP Enterprises, Inc. DXPE, Roper Technologies, Inc. ROP and Dover Corporation DOV. While DXP Enterprises and Roper currently sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Dover carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
In the past 60 days, earnings estimates for all the three stocks have improved for the current year. Further, average earnings surprise for the last four quarters was positive 46.55% for DXP Enterprises, 8.43% for Roper and 8.61% for Dover.
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