What happened

Shares of cryogenic gas processing and storage equipment maker Chart Industries Inc. (NASDAQ:GTLS) were up 10.2% at 2:49 p.m. EST on Thursday, following the early-morning release of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2017 earnings results. The company reported a 15% increase in revenue for the year, with sales surging an incredible 43% in Q4.

Chart's earnings per share were also up big in the quarter: The company reported EPS of $0.85, a big reversal from Q4 2016's $0.11 per share loss. Even when adjusting for some non-recurring expenses related to restructuring and litigation in China, as well as a big gain related to the recently enacted corporate tax cuts, Chart's $0.46 non-GAAP earnings per share were a big year-over year improvement. 

Gas processing equipment.

Image source: Chart Industries.

So what

The Q4 results were only a small part of what excited investors Thursday. Chart spent much of 2017 taking steps to restructure its operations, relocating and combining facilities in order to cut costs and improve long-term profitability. The company has also made several acquisitions -- including two in the third quarter, and one more recently -- that are starting to pay off. The company expects 2018 sales in the $1.15 billion to $1.2 billion range, representing 16% to 21% growth. 

However, it's not just acquisitions that are driving higher sales. Chart expects organic revenue to increase by 5% to 7% in 2018 on steadily improving demand. The company said that order activity continues to improve, and was up 14% excluding its biggest acquisition last year. This has Chart's order backlog up 35% year over year. 

Lastly, the benefits of Chart's restructuring and the tax cuts are expected to really pay off on the bottom line in 2018. Management expects non-GAAP EPS of $1.65 to $1.90 this year, compared to the $0.96 per share non-GAAP earnings it reported in 2017. 

Add it all together, and it looks like Chart has turned the corner from restructuring, and is focused on sales and earnings growth. The company still has work to do to complete the integration of its acquisitions, and demand from the energy industry hasn't fully recovered. But Chart has made big strides in the past couple of years, and they are starting to pay off.

Jason Hall owns shares of Chart Industries. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Chart Industries. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.