Shares of Donaldson Co. rose more than 7 percent Monday after the Bloomington-based company posted strong fourth-quarter sales and earnings that beat Wall Street's estimates and reported a healthy pipeline of business going into its new fiscal year.
The stock, which had recently dipped below $50 on concerns about the economy, closed Monday at $57.61 a share. Volume was more than double the recent daily average, with over 700,000 shares changing hands.
Donaldson, which makes filtration and exhaust products, said earnings increased 29 percent to $66 million, or 84 cents per share. Sales rose 21 percent to $625 million. Analysts had estimated earnings-per-share of 79 cents and sales of $619.6 million for the period ended July 31.
Donaldson said fourth-quarter results were helped by currency translations, which added $4 million to earnings. Without currency effects, price increases or contributions from acquisitions, sales rose 13 percent.
For the full year, sales increased 22 percent to nearly $2.3 billion, while earnings rose 36 percent to $225 million, or $2.87 a share.
The company said it expects sales to increase 7 percent to 15 percent this year while earnings-per-share should be between $3.15 to $3.45.
"Over the past four weeks, there have been many reports of a slowdown in global growth rates and the increased possibility of another recession. However, our current order trends remain healthy," CEO Bill Cook said.
He said the solid sales are the result of continuing demand from major customers, such as Caterpillar Inc., and from new customers that have boosted Donaldson's market share.
Cook said the company continues to feel the impact of higher raw material costs. Much of the increase in the fourth quarter came from higher costs for petroleum-based materials, including plastics and adhesives. Cook noted that steel prices in the quarter were 20 percent higher than the same period a year earlier.
Cook said the company has been able to offset the higher commodity costs through productivity improvements and some price increases.
"We are impressed with Donaldson's ability to achieve a record operating margin of 13.7 percent for the year given the elevated commodity price environment," said Jeff Windau, an analyst at Edward Jones in St. Louis.
Staff writer David Phelps contributed to this story. Susan Feyder • 612-673-1723