Pentair PLC completed its first year as a stand-alone water company reporting better-than-expected financial results for its fourth quarter and year.
The London-based company, which is primarily run out of executive offices in Golden Valley, spun off its enclosures, thermal management and electrical and fastening solutions business, nVent Electric PLC, on April 30, and further developed its residential and commercial water treatment strategy.
"2018 was an eventful year for Pentair as we began our new journey as a pure play water company," said John Stauch, Pentair president and chief executive in a news release. "We delivered on our 2018 commitments while successfully completing the separation of nVent Electric PLC to shareholders."
Pentair provides a range of sustainable water solutions to residential, business and industrial consumers.
The company earned $92.9 million, or 53 cents per share, in the quarter on sales of $741 million. Sales were up 3 percent compared to the same period a year ago, while core sales rose 6 percent after excluding currency translations and effects of acquisitions and divestitures.
Adjusted earnings per share were 60 cents per share in quarter, up 15.4 percent, from adjusted EPS of 52 cents in the fourth quarter last year and a penny better than analysts expected.
Adjusted earnings per share for the year were $2.35 per share for the year, up 21.1 percent from $1.94 per share in 2017.
Stauch told analysts on the company's earnings conference call that Pentair was able to exceed 2018 expectations despite the impact of tariffs and inflation and was still able to return $700 million to shareholders in the form of dividends and stock buybacks during the year.
Pentair reports results in three segments: aquatic systems, filtration solutions and flow technologies.
Strongest results were in the aquatic systems segment with core sales growth for the quarter of $277 million, up 13 percent, and segment income of $78 million, up 10 percent in the quarter.
Stauch also reviewed two acquisitions at the start of 2019 that aimed to build on the company's strategy to be a leader in residential and commercial water treatment.
On Jan. 7 Pentair spent $160 million to acquire Aquion, a maker of water conditioners, water filters, drinking-water purifiers, ozone and ultraviolet disinfection systems and other products for residential and commercial water treatment. It also spent $120 million to acquire Pelican Water Systems, a provider of residential whole home water treatment systems.
Stauch expects the companies to contribute a combined $110 million in revenue for 2019.
Pentair also announced guidance for 2019 saying it expects adjusted earnings per share in the range of $2.50 to $2.60 per share. The company also expects annual sales in 2019 to rise 5 to 6 percent, with core sales up 4 to 5 percent.
Shares of Pentair were up 1 percent Tuesday, to $40.98 per share.