Donaldson Co. Inc. reported net earnings were up 50 percent in its first quarter of fiscal 2017, and its CEO pointed to some “cautiously optimistic” signs toward more growth in the future.
The company earned $58 million, or 43 cents a share, in the quarter ended Oct. 31. In the same quarter last year, the Bloomington-based company reported profits of $38.5 million, or 29 cents a share. Minus a one-time 5-cent benefit for the settlement of an escrow account related to a recent acquisition, results were 38 cents a share. That exceeded the 35 cents a share expected by analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters.
The maker of industrial filtration and replacement parts reported revenue for the quarter of $553 million, a 2.8 percent increase over the same period last year and 3.4 percent better than what analysts were expecting.
“After an encouraging start to our fiscal year, we remain on track to achieve the full-year sales and adjusted-profit targets that we laid out last quarter,” said Tod Carpenter, president and chief executive, in a statement.
The company’s shares rose nearly 11 percent to close Thursday at $44.95.
Carpenter told analysts on the company’s conference call that there were some encouraging signs that some of their industrial markets were stabilizing but they were still waiting for signs of a market rebound.
Officials have been optimistic since the U.S. presidential election because of Donald Trump’s pledges of more infrastructure spending.
“We’re also excited about that possibility but we recognize that it would be a while before any increase would take place,” Carpenter told analysts. “Until then, we will remain cautiously optimistic and focus on what we are seeing in our business.”
That means Donaldson isn’t forecasting an immediate turnaround in the industrial markets it serves. “Based on our analysis, which is supported by customer perspectives and third-party data, we continue to view this operating environment as being more of the same for at least the balance of our fiscal year,” Carpenter said.
Donaldson expects its full-year adjusted earnings per share to be in the $1.50 to $1.66 per-share range. The company also reaffirmed that it expects its total revenue for fiscal 2017 to be within plus or minus 2 percent of last year’s annual revenue of $2.2 billion.
Donaldson also is keeping an eye on another Trump campaign promise. The company has $262 million in cash and cash equivalents on its balance sheet, and officials told analysts most of that cash was held overseas.
Scott Robinson, Donaldson’s chief financial officer, told analysts repatriating cash is something the company thinks a lot about. “Certainly if the incoming administration were to facilitate moneys moving back to the U.S., we would be glad to take advantage of that,” he said.