Construction and building equipment manufacturer Terex Co. (NYSE:TEX) today announced a surprising loss as part of its first-quarter earnings report. Per-share profit fell from a gain of $0.28 in the prior-year period to a loss of $0.02 this quarter. And while the company affirmed its full-year outlook, Wall Street chose to focus on the short-term earnings miss: The stock fell 3% immediately following the quarterly announcement.
Here's how the broad results stacked up against expectations:
|Revenue||$1.46 billion||$1.50 billion|
|Profit||$0.18 per share||-$0.02 per share|
In dollar terms, profit swung from a $33 million gain to a $2 million loss. The biggest reason for the shortfall was weakness in Terex's aerial work platforms. That's the company's biggest segment, and it suffered a 13% sales dip -- and an even faster earnings crunch. Operating profit plunged in the division by almost 50%, pulling overall profitability down from 20.1% to 18.5%.
Behind the profit pinch
However, a few unusual factors went into that dive. First, a shipping bottleneck at West Coast ports boosted costs. Second, management pointed to "uncertainty surrounding oil and gas" prices as contributing factors that kept customers holding off on placing new orders. And finally, foreign exchange swings took a big bite out of sales and profits.
Importantly, the company expects growth to quickly get back on track. The aerial work platforms division ended the quarter with a healthy 44% jump in backlog. Its profit margin also improved as Terex moved into the second quarter, which adds weight to management's claim that this quarter's results were swamped by temporary issues. "We expect strong performance from our aerial work platforms segment and improvement from our other segments throughout the remainder of 2015," said CEO Ron Defeo in a press release accompanying the results.
Those expected improvements should keep the company right on pace with its initial 2015 plan. Management reiterated its target of $2.15 of per share earnings for the full year. And sales are still expected to come in at roughly $6.4 billion.
Yes, both of those figures will be down substantially from the year-ago periods. But they're also the same numbers that management first issued in February and shouldn't come as a surprise to shareholders.