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Tennant Company Reports 2011 Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

​Net sales grew 6 percent to a record fourth quarter of $193.2 million; Quarterly gross margin of 43.2 percent exceeded target range; 

Operating profit margin rose to 8.0 percent from 6.3 percent as adjusted in prior year quarter; 

Quarterly diluted EPS of $0.59 versus $0.40 adjusted diluted EPS in year ago period; 2011 record year with $754.0 million net sales and $1.95 adjusted diluted EPS; 

Company provides 2012 sales and earnings guidance

MINNEAPOLIS, Feb. 21, 2012—Tennant Company (NYSE: TNC), a world leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing of solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world, today reported net earnings of $11.3 million, or $0.59 per diluted share, on net sales of $193.2 million for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2011. In the 2010 fourth quarter, Tennant reported net earnings of $17.0 million, or $0.88 per diluted share, on net sales of $182.8 million. Results in the 2010 fourth quarter included net special benefits of $0.48 per diluted share, primarily related to tax benefits from an international entity restructuring. Excluding special benefits, adjusted 2010 fourth quarter earnings totaled $0.40 per diluted share. (See the Supplemental Non-GAAP Financial Table.)  

“We are pleased to report record fourth quarter sales, which resulted in 48 percent growth in adjusted diluted earnings per share compared to the prior year quarter,” said Chris Killingstad, Tennant Company's president and chief executive officer. “Tennant’s robust financial performance was driven in part by strong sales of industrial equipment in the Americas region and increased global sales of scrubbers equipped with our sustainable, water-based ec-H2OTM cleaning technology.” 

Scrubbers equipped with Tennant’s ec-H2O technology again posted double-digit sales gains, growing approximately 22 percent in the 2011 fourth quarter compared to the prior year quarter. For the 2011 full year, sales of ec-H2O equipped scrubbers rose approximately 46 percent to $140 million, up from $96 million in 2010. 

Commented Killingstad: “Our full year sales of scrubbers equipped with ec-H2O hit the top end of our stated revenue range for the year, demonstrating that this technology continues to be widely adopted by customers around the world. As a result, ec-H2O sales were a key contributor to Tennant’s 13 percent revenue increase for the 2011 full year versus 2010.” 

Fourth Quarter Operating Review

Tennant’s consolidated net sales grew 5.7 percent to $193.2 million in the 2011 fourth quarter versus $182.8 million for the 2010 fourth quarter. Overall, foreign currency exchange effects were essentially flat compared to the prior year period. Organic net sales, which exclude acquisitions and foreign currency impact, increased approximately 9.5 percent in Tennant's Americas region, with strong sales of scrubbers equipped with ec-H2O in North America and increased sales of industrial equipment in Latin America. Organic sales growth was approximately 0.5 percent in the Asia Pacific region, with strong growth in emerging markets partially offset by selling price decreases in some mature markets related to movements in foreign exchange rates. Organic sales in the Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region were essentially flat in the 2011 fourth quarter compared to the prior year quarter due primarily to slower sales of commercial equipment offsetting the sales growth of industrial products, primarily increased sales of large scrubbers equipped with ec-water technology.

Tennant’s gross margin in the 2011 fourth quarter rose to 43.2 percent, above the company’s target range of 42 percent to 43 percent, and up from 42.2 percent, or 42.6 percent as adjusted, in the 2010 fourth quarter. The higher gross margin was primarily driven by improvement in EMEA gross margins, as the company benefited from a more profitable product mix with increased sales of its Green Machines® sweepers, particularly the environmentally friendly lithium-ion battery-powered 500ze city cleaning sweeper. The company’s gross margins improved throughout 2011, starting with 41.7 percent in the first quarter and ending with 43.2 percent in the fourth quarter.  

For the 2011 fourth quarter, Tennant’s research and development expense totaled $7.7 million, or 4.0 percent of sales, as anticipated, compared to $6.9 million, or 3.8 percent of sales, in the prior year quarter.  

Commented Killingstad: “We remain committed to being the industry’s innovation leader. During the fourth quarter, we continued to invest in our core business and in developing a pipeline of new chemical-free and other sustainable cleaning technologies under our Orbio brand. The expanded rollout of our Orbio® 5000-Sc into Europe and select areas in the Asia Pacific region is proceeding as planned, with very positive customer feedback.”

Selling and administrative (S&A) expense in the 2011 fourth quarter totaled $60.4 million, or 31.3 percent of sales, versus $60.8 million, or 33.2 percent of sales, or $59.4 million, or 32.5 percent of sales, as adjusted, in the year ago quarter. The increase in adjusted S&A expense on a dollar basis was primarily attributable to higher variable costs related to the higher sales volume, ongoing investments in the company’s Orbio Technologies Group, and legal and severance expenses. Adjusted S&A expense as a percent of sales, however, was 120 basis points lower than the prior year fourth quarter due to continued tight cost controls and improved operating efficiencies.  

Tennant's 2011 fourth quarter operating profit was $15.5 million, or 8.0 percent of sales, up from an operating profit of $9.5 million, or 5.2 percent of sales, or $11.5 million, or 6.3 percent of sales, as adjusted, in the prior year quarter. Adjusted operating profit margin rose 170 basis points versus the 2010 fourth quarter due to increased sales volume, higher gross margins and improved operating efficiencies.

2011 Full Year Results

For the 2011 full year, Tennant reported net earnings of $32.7 million, or $1.69 per diluted share, on net sales of $754.0 million. Tennant’s 2011 net sales increased 12.9 percent versus the prior year. Organic net sales grew approximately 10.4 percent in 2011, excluding favorable foreign currency exchange effects of approximately 2.5 percent. Organic sales rose approximately 12.9 percent in the Americas region, 4.6 percent in EMEA and 10.3 percent in the Asia Pacific region. Tennant recorded special charges in the 2011 second quarter totaling $5.0 million after tax, or a $0.26 loss per diluted share, including a $0.20 loss per diluted share related to obsolescence of the two Hofmans outdoor city cleaning products in Europe and a $0.06 loss per diluted share related to international executive severance. (See the Supplemental Non-GAAP Financial Table.) Excluding these special charges, the company’s 2011 adjusted full year net earnings were $37.7 million, or $1.95 per diluted share. The 2010 results included net special benefits of $0.49 per diluted share. Adjusted earnings per diluted share for the 2010 full year, excluding these special items, was $1.31.

Full year 2011 operating profit increased to $49.6 million, or 6.6 percent of sales, and $55.2 million, or 7.3 percent of sales, as adjusted, versus an operating profit of $37.1 million, or 5.6 percent of sales, and $39.2 million and 5.9 percent of sales, as adjusted, in the prior year.  Full year 2011 operating profit margin, as adjusted, rose 140 basis points over the prior year due primarily to improved operating efficiencies in selling and administrative areas.

Tennant continues to have a strong balance sheet and generated $56.9 million in cash from operations in 2011. Total cash and cash equivalents at December 31, 2011, was $52.3 million and total debt was $36.5 million. During 2011, Tennant paid cash dividends of $12.9 million and repurchased 469,304 shares of the company’s stock for $17.6 million. Tennant had 18.8 million common shares outstanding at December 31, 2011. 

Business Outlook

“In 2011, Tennant benefited from increased sales of ec-H2O and industrial equipment to strategic accounts, as well as growth in emerging markets. Higher sales volume and our ongoing commitment to operational excellence led to the improved earnings performance over 2010,” said Killingstad.

Based on its 2011 results and expectations of future performance, Tennant Company estimates 2012 full year earnings in the range of $2.30 to $2.45 per diluted share on net sales in the range of $790 million to $805 million.  

Tennant will continue to manage its business with a focus on operational excellence and strong cost controls, and make selective investments in innovative technologies and other key strategic priorities. The company's 2012 annual financial outlook includes the following expectations: 

•Global economy stabilizes with modest improvement in North America, continued uncertainty in Europe, and steady growth in emerging markets;

•Foreign currency impact on sales for the full year that is flat to slightly unfavorable; 

•Minimal inflation net of cost-saving initiatives and selling price increases; 

•A gross margin at the high end of the targeted range of 42 to 43 percent; 

•R&D expense of approximately 4 percent of sales, as the company continues to invest in its core products and increases investment in its water-based cleaning business; and 

•Capital expenditures in the range of $16 million to $18 million.

“We are bullish on our future, despite the prevailing uncertainty in the global economy,” said Killingstad. “We remain on track to achieve our goal of a 12 percent operating profit margin in the fourth quarter of 2013.”

Conference Call

Tennant will host a conference call to discuss the 2011 fourth quarter and full year results today, Feb. 21, 2012, at 10 a.m. Central Time (11 a.m. Eastern Time). The conference call will be available via webcast on the investor portion of Tennant's website. To listen to the call live, go to www.tennantco.com and click on Company, Investors. A taped replay of the conference call will be available at  www.tennantco.com for approximately two weeks after the call. 

Company Profile

Minneapolis-based Tennant Company (NYSE: TNC) is a world leader in designing, manufacturing and marketing solutions that help create a cleaner, safer, healthier world. Its products include equipment for maintaining surfaces in industrial, commercial and outdoor environments; chemical-free and other sustainable cleaning technologies; and coatings for protecting, repairing and upgrading surfaces. Tennant's global field service network is the most extensive in the industry. Tennant has manufacturing operations in Minneapolis, Minn.; Holland, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Uden, The Netherlands; the United Kingdom; São Paulo, Brazil; and Shanghai, China; and sells products directly in 15 countries and through distributors in more than 80 countries. For more information, visit www.tennantco.com​

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this document, as well as other written and oral statements made by us from time to time, are considered “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act. These statements do not relate to strictly historical or current facts and provide current expectations or forecasts of future events. Any such expectations or forecasts of future events are subject to a variety of factors. These include factors that affect all businesses operating in a global market as well as matters specific to us and the markets we serve. Particular risks and uncertainties presently facing us include: geopolitical and economic uncertainty throughout the world; the competition in our business; our ability to effectively manage organizational changes; our ability to comply with laws and regulations; our ability to effectively maintain and manage the data in our computer systems; unforeseen product liability claims or product quality issues; our ability to develop and fund new innovative products and services; our ability to attract and retain key personnel; our ability to successfully upgrade and evolve the capabilities of our computer systems; the occurrence of a significant business  

interruption; fluctuations in the cost or availability of raw materials and purchased components; our ability to acquire, retain and protect proprietary intellectual property rights; and the relative strength of the U.S. dollar, which affects the cost of our materials and products purchased and sold internationally.

We caution that forward-looking statements must be considered carefully and that actual results may differ in material ways due to risks and uncertainties both known and unknown. Shareholders, potential investors and other readers are urged to consider these factors in evaluating forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on such forward-looking statements. For additional information about factors that could materially affect Tennant's results, please see our other Securities and Exchange Commission filings, including disclosures under “Risk Factors.” 

We do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement, and investors are advised to consult any further disclosures by us on this matter in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and in other written statements we make from time to time. It is not possible to anticipate or foresee all risk factors, and investors should not consider any list of such factors to be an exhaustive or complete list of all risks or uncertainties. 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This news release includes presentations of non-GAAP measures that include or exclude special items. Management believes that the non-GAAP measures provide useful information to investors regarding the company's results of operations and financial condition because they permit a more meaningful comparison and understanding of Tennant Company's operating performance for the current, past or future periods. Management uses these non-GAAP measures to monitor and evaluate ongoing operating results and trends, and to gain an understanding of the comparative operating performance of the company. See the Supplemental Non-GAAP Financial Tables.

Fourth Quarter 2011 Earnings Release (Complete with tables)