John Bean Technologies: Profit Up Despite the Strong Dollar

JBT's second-quarter earnings blew away Wall Street expectations as big gains in its airport-technology unit more than offset strong exchange-rate headwinds.

John Rosevear
John Rosevear
Aug 17, 2015 at 10:42AM

John Bean Technologies (NYSE:JBT) reported its second-quarter earnings results after the bell on July 27. Here's what you need to know.

The key numbers
For the quarter ended June 30, 2015, the maker of food-processing and airport-support equipment generated net earnings of $14.4 million, or $0.48 per share, versus $0.38 in the second quarter of 2014. Revenue rose 2.8% to $254.6 million. 

JBT's per-share profit soundly beat Wall Street's $0.43 expectation. The stock rose almost 2% in trading the following day. 

Good results despite strong currency headwinds
Like many U.S.-based companies that do a substantial amount of business overseas. Chicago-based JBT has been hurt by the strengthening of the dollar against key foreign currencies. Currency swings put a damper on what was otherwise a very strong second quarter for the company. To make that clear, management expressed some of its year-over-year results in "constant currency" terms, as if exchange rates hadn't moved since the second quarter of 2014.

JBT operates in two business segments, called "FoodTech" and "AeroTech."

JBT's FoodTech unit provides services to and makes equipment for food processing companies, including freezers and machines that process fruit, meats, and bakery products. Revenue in the unit was down 5.5% from a year ago -- but up 5.2% in constant-currency terms. During JBT's second-quarter earnings conference call, CFO Brian Deck said that FoodTech "performed in line with our expectations." He noted that the unit had strong sales bookings in the quarter, and he expects those to drive solid growth in the second half of the year, over 5% on a constant-currency basis

JBT's AeroTech unit provides services to and makes equipment for airports, including Jetway passenger-boarding bridges and vehicles that tow, de-ice, and load aircraft. Revenue jumped 22.5% in the quarter on what Deck called a "particularly favorable" mix of products sold. He said that AeroTech's growth had exceeded internal expectations, But, he noted, second-half performance would likely be more modest on a year-over-year basis. He expects percentage increases in the "mid-single-digit range," as the unit had a very strong results in the second half of 2014, making comparisons challenging. 

Overall operating profit for the segments was $30.8 million, up 8% -- or up 20% on a constant-currency basis. 

Had exchange rates been unchanged from a year ago, JBT's second-quarter revenue would have represented an 11% increase.

Deck added a bit of color around the company's recently announced acquisition of Stork Food & Dairy Systems. Stork has annual revenue of around $70 million, which will be a significant addition to FoodTech's revenue -- but he doesn't expect the acquisition to boost FoodTech's margins until "synergies come into play" in about 2017. 

For the full year, Deck expects JBT's revenue to grow 7%, which he broke down as "5% organic growth and 7% from acquisitions, offset by an adverse currency impact of 5%."

That's in line with prior guidance, but Deck raised the lower bound of JBT's guidance for earnings a bit. The company now expects full-year diluted earnings per share to come in between $1.70 (up from $1.65) and $1.80. That includes an expected exchange-rate headwind of about $0.15 as well as another $0.05 in transaction and integration costs related to the Stork acquisition.