What: Shares of Harsco (HSC 3.82%) plummeted 35% by 11:15 a.m. EST on Friday. Fueling the selling fury was the company's fourth-quarter earnings report and its dour outlook for 2016.
So what: Harsco reported fourth-quarter revenue of $387 million, which was down 21.3% from last year's fourth-quarter. Meanwhile, adjusted operating income slumped to $26 million, which was down 10.3% from the year-ago quarter. This was mainly due to weakness in the company's Metals and Minerals and Industrial segments. That said, adjusted operating earnings were above the company's guidance due to an increase in its operating margin.
All things considered it was a solid quarter, especially considering the challenging operating conditions it faced. Unfortunately, those challenging conditions are expected to grow even worse in 2016, putting more pressure on the company's operations. Because of that it sees its full-year adjusted operating income slumping to a range of $80 million to $100 million, which is significantly less than the $135 million in adjusted operating income it turned in last year. Further, because of the current economic uncertainties, Harsco has decided to suspend its quarterly dividend in order to preserve capital.
Now what: Investors really did not like Harsco's 2016 guidance, which implies that business conditions will further weaken in 2016. They also see the disappearing dividend as a hint that its financial foundation isn't very strong. That one-two punch of no growth and no income is giving investors little reason to be bullish right now.