The Toro Co. last week reported net earnings of $6.7 million, or $0.18 per share, on net sales of $340.2 million for its fiscal first quarter ended Jan. 30. The company’s first-quarter results were reduced by a pre-tax charge of $1.3 million, or $0.02 per share on an after-tax basis, to account for workforce adjustments. In the comparable fiscal 2008 period, the company reported net earnings of $18.6 million, or $0.47 per share, on net sales of $405.8 million.
“We are operating in an extremely challenging business environment with revenue uncertainties, as well as overall currency and commodity pressures,” said Michael Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO. “Accordingly, we are managing production volumes very closely and reducing expenses company-wide. As a result of our continued focus on working capital, we have brought down inventories, lowered short-term borrowings by $60 million compared to last year’s first quarter, and strengthened our balance sheet. Additionally, field inventories are down from last year’s levels.
“We expect the global recessionary conditions to continue for the remainder of our fiscal year,” said Hoffman. “However, we believe we are well positioned to manage through a period of reduced volume because of actions we have taken to improve operating efficiency and asset utilization. Our focus as we enter the peak selling season is on generating customer demand for our innovative new products, while keeping production closely aligned with expected shipment volumes.”
Given the intensifying global recession, the company cautioned that its outlook for the year is more uncertain. The company currently expects fiscal 2009 revenues to decline about 15 percent from fiscal 2008, and net earnings per share to be approximately $1.75 to $2.00. For its fiscal 2009 second quarter, the company expects to report net earnings per share of $0.85 to $1.00.
Headquartered in Bloomington, Minn., The Toro Co. is a worldwide provider of outdoor maintenance equipment and beautification products to help customers care for golf courses, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties, and agricultural fields.