Hurricane Katrina is gone, but it's still blowing an ill wind for many companies. Among those lowering expectations because of the impact of the hurricane is MohawkIndustries
So what led this leading carpet and floor-coverings company to lower the bar for both the third and fourth quarter? Higher raw-material prices. It's true that energy, chemicals, and freight costs were high before the hurricanes hit, but the resulting spike in energy and constraints in refining capacity made matters even worse. Given that many floor coverings are made almost entirely of synthetics like nylon or vinyl, that's a problem.
As a result, the company lowered third-quarter earnings guidance to a range of $1.60 to $1.63 -- versus prior guidance of $1.71 to $1.80 -- and a mean analyst estimate of $1.75. That will also represent a decline from last year's level of earnings -- about 3% if the company hits the midpoint of the new range. Management also lowered guidance for the fourth quarter to between $1.49 and $1.58. That compares unfavorably with the current mean estimate of $1.65 and the year-ago level of $1.52. Add it all together, and it also means that the company will show barely any as-reported EPS growth for the full year.
In response to what may be starting to look like a prolonged period of high input prices, Mohawk will be putting through a price increase in early October. In addition to freight surcharges, the company will raise its carpeting prices by 5% to 8% and will raise prices for its hard floor coverings as well. Judging by the fourth-quarter guidance, though, it seems that the company isn't expecting this price increase to make thing entirely whole with respect to the profits being eaten up by higher raw-material and energy costs.
This news is disappointing, but it may come with a slight silver lining to some investors. New housing is still strong, and Mohawk should also stand to benefit from the rebuilding efforts in the Gulf Coast states. What's more, even with this disappointment, the shares are getting pretty close to a level where value investors might want to take a look.
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Fool contributor Stephen Simpson has no financial interest in any stocks mentioned (that means he's neither long nor short the shares).