Toromont Industries Ltd. last week reported record financial results for the three months ended Sept. 30. Revenues in the quarter increased 16 percent and operating income increased 13 percent versus the comparable period of 2007. Compression Group revenues and operating income were at record levels for this time of year, driven by continued strength in U.S. natural gas operations.
Net earnings were $37.1 million or $0.57 per share, 21-percent higher than that reported in the comparable quarter of 2007. Revenues, operating income and net earnings were all higher in the first nine months of 2008 compared to the similar period of 2007. Through September 2008, net earnings were a record $91.4 million or $1.40 basic earnings per share, up 10 percent from $83.0 million or $1.28 per share reported in 2007.
Earnings through September 2007 and 2008 included investment gains and earnings from discontinued operations. Excluding these items in both years, net earnings for the nine months ended Sept. 30 were $84.9 million or $1.30 basic earnings per share, up 21 percent from $70.0 million or $1.08 per share in the similar period of 2007.
"We are very pleased with the results for the third quarter and through the first nine months of the year," said Robert Ogilvie, chairman and CEO of Toromont Industries Ltd. "The Compression Group continues to report excellent growth in its U.S. operations on expanded capacity and supported by continued demand for natural gas compression equipment. The Equipment Group performed well due to continued strength in infrastructure, mining and power systems markets. We maintained our strong financial position with healthy operating cash flow in the quarter."
In the companyâ€™s Equipment Group, which includes Battlefield Equipment Rentals, revenues were up 8 percent in the third quarter of 2008 versus the same period of 2007 on higher new machine sales and strong product support growth. Operating income decreased 2 percent over the same period last year on higher relative selling and administrative expense levels.
Equipment Group bookings were largely on par with record levels reported in the third quarter and through September of last year. Generally, good demand for new equipment continued, particularly for the larger models used in mining and infrastructure markets and for marine and power applications.
"With strong bookings and healthy order backlogs in both U.S. natural gas compression and the Equipment Group, we anticipate another successful year for Toromont," Ogilvie said. "Toromont has a very strong balance sheet, good momentum and strong businesses. Acquisition and other growth opportunities typically improve for companies such as ours that retain the ability to invest during periods of general financial and economic stress."
The company also announced the regular quarterly dividend of $0.14 per share on outstanding common shares, payable Jan. 2, 2009 to shareholders of record on Dec. 12.
Headquartered in Toronto, Toromont Industries Ltd. operates through two business segments: The Equipment Group and the Compression Group. The Equipment Group includes one of the world's larger Caterpillar dealerships by revenue and geographic territory in addition to Battlefield Equipment Rentals, No. 23 on the RER 100.