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Balchem Reports Strong Growth to Begin 2018

By Travis Hoium – Updated May 9, 2018 at 1:16PM

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From energy to health food markets, Balchem Corporation is hitting on all cylinders.

Nearly every business Balchem (BCPC -0.74%) is in has seen strong growth in 2018, and that's driving the company's financial results higher. Fracking is seeing the biggest growth, but human and animal health continue to be great businesses for the company. 

Here's a look at the details of the first-quarter earnings report. 

Supplements on a table next to seeds and root vegetables.

Image source: Getty Images.

Balchem: The raw numbers

Metric Q1 2018 Q1 2017 Year-Over-Year Change
Sales $161.4 million $137.7 million  17.2% 
Net income $19.3 million  $15.5 million  24.7% 
Diluted EPS $0.60 $0.48  25% 

Data source: Balchem Q1 2018 earnings release. 

What happened with Balchem this quarter? 

The headline numbers were great for Balchem in the first quarter, and segment results showed widespread growth:  

  • Cash flow from operations rose $2.7 million to $25.5 million and free cash flow was up $1.8 million to $21.7 million in the quarter. 
  • Human nutrition and health segment revenue rose 13.6% in the quarter to $83.1 million, driven by the acquisition of manufacturer IFP. Earnings from operations in the segment were a record $13.0 million, up 27.5% from a year ago. 
  • Animal nutrition sales increased 21.2% to $46.1 million and earnings from operations were up 39.2% to $7.5 million. Management said that higher selling prices, strong volume, and a disruption in competing imports from China helped drive results higher. 
  • Specialty product revenue fell 5.6% to $17.7 million as plant nutrition sales fell. Earnings from operations were down 20.5% to $5.1 million as a result.   
  • Industrial products segment revenue was up 87.1% to $14.5 million and earnings from operations more than tripled to $2.5 million. Higher volume sales of choline and choline derivatives to shale fracking customers were the biggest growth drivers. 
  • $8.75 million of debt was repaid in the quarter, leaving long-term debt of $210.3 million and cash of $42.7 million on the balance sheet. 

What management had to say

Balchem's growth strategy is showing its value to investors, and headwinds the company faces aren't slowing it down. CEO Ted Harris said in the company's earnings release: 

The progress the Balchem team is making on driving our businesses forward and advancing our key growth initiatives more than offset the headwinds we face from inflationary pressures along with challenging dairy market dynamics. We are encouraged by the strong start to the year and we will remain focused on maneuvering through the challenges we face, leveraging opportunities, and progressing our strategic initiatives.

Looking forward

It may be tough to match double-digit growth for the remainder of 2018, but the fact that industrial, energy, and health end markets are all growing, sale prices are up, and acquisitions are providing a positive impact is good news for Balchem in the long term. 

Travis Hoium has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Balchem. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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