Summer is really not the time when people think about salt -- unless it's in the context of margaritas. After all, with triple-digit temperatures across parts of the Midwest recently, who's really thinking about highway deicing salt? By the same token, it's not as though shares of Compass Minerals
While I mean no disrespect to the managers of this Kansas-based minerals company, its financial results in the summer months never amount to much. So while revenue was up 11% (on 7% higher product sales), operating income was down 16% as reported, and adjusted EBITDA was down 3%, I find it hard to get too worked up about the results. After all, we're talking about a quarter where the sales volume is less than half of that seen in quarters with winter/early spring months.
That said, there were still some good operational results to talk about. A strike in Ontario hurt production but ended in early June, and the company seems confident about making up for lost time later in the year. What's more, bidding for the upcoming deicing season is about halfway finished, and the company has secured about 10% higher prices on average. While I would expect that higher costs (freight, fuel, etc.) will suck up some of that, it nevertheless strikes me as encouraging.
I'm still a fan of semiobscure mineral plays like Compass, Brush Engineered
While Compass is not competition-free (thanks to Cargill and Rohm & Haas
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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).