Tennant 1Q profit jumps 14%, sales beat estimates

  • Article by: DEE DEPASS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 21, 2014 - 8:50 PM

A new riding floor scrubber helped boost profit 14% at the maker of industrial cleaning equipment.

Tennant Co. of Golden Valley continues to see rising demand for its machinery. Here, Rick Van Horn assembled a lathe to manufacture bearing housings.

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Tennant Co. reported solid first-quarter financial results Monday amid growing demand for its scrubbers.

In particular, the Golden Valley-based manufacturer reported strong sales for its new line of riding floor scrubbers as well as its lineup of environmental scrubbers.

During a conference call with analysts, Tennant CEO Chris Killingstad noted that Tennant is pushing innovation. It plans to introduce 63 products and technologies between 2014 and 2016. That’s on top of 37 new products launched in 2012 and 2013.

Such development “is important to our revenue growth,” Killingstad said, adding that the lineup is “the most robust new-product pipeline in [Tennant’s] history.”

Tennant reported a 14 percent jump in first-quarter earnings to $5.8 million, or 31 cents a share, which was in line with analysts’ estimates. Sales for the quarter rose 9.5 percent to $183.9 million, far exceeding the $173 million that analysts expected.

Killingstad told analysts Monday, “We are pleased. … The implementation of our growth strategy is off to a strong start in 2014.”

Sales growth occurred across all geographies, showing marked improvement particularly in North America and Europe. Killingstad also noted that the company is making progress toward its goal of reaching $1 billion in annual revenues by 2017.

Analysts were largely pleased with the first-quarter performance. Joe Maxa, equity research analyst with Dougherty & Co. praised officials “on a nice revenue quarter.”

CJS Securities analyst Jason Ursaner called the results “a strong start to the year. … Organic sales in the quarter were clearly very strong” — so strong that Ursaner questioned why management didn’t increase its full-year forecast.

But instead of raising it, Killingstad confirmed his prior guidance for the full year, saying sales are still expected to grow 4 to 6 percent to between $780 million and $800 million by year-end. Earnings should grow 11 to 24 percent to reach $2.50 to $2.80 a share. Results are expected to be stronger in the second half of the year as prices and product mix improve.

Tennant’s stock price rose 24 cents a share to close at $66.19.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725

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