News Column

Harsh winter causes first quarter loss at Gibraltar

May 2, 2014

By David Robinson, The Buffalo News, N.Y.



May 02--The harsh winter took a toll on Gibraltar Industries' construction products business during the first quarter.

The Hamburg-based company said Friday that it lost $2.1 million, or 7 cents per share, during the quarter, as the unusually cold and snowy winter weather across the country cut into its sales of residential building products.

But Brian J. Lipke, Gibraltar's chairman and chief executive officer, said the first-quarter weakness is expected to be only temporary, with the company's sales and earnings projected to rebound during the rest of this year as the nation's housing market strengthens and demand rises for the company's cluster mail boxes.

"We believe the challenges we faced in the first quarter will prove to be temporary," Lipke said.

Even with the weaker-than-expected first quarter, Gibraltar said it is sticking with its forecast that the company's profits, excluding one-time expenses, will improve by about 20 percent this year, to between 76 cents and 90 cents per share, up from 69 cents a year ago.

During the first quarter, Gibraltar's loss narrowed from $3.6 million, or 12 cents per share, a year ago, when the company absorbed nearly $5 million in restructuring charges.

Excluding $400,000 in one-time expenses during the latest quarter, Gibraltar's adjusted loss was $1.7 million, or 5 cents per share, compared with a profit of $1.2 million, or 4 cents per share, a year ago.

The company's sales were weaker than expected, sliding by 3 percent to $191 million from $197 million, as revenues from both of its main business segments -- residential construction products and infrastructure equipment -- dipped by 3 percent.

Lipke said he believes the harsh winter weather caused consumers to delay seasonal purchases, which cut into the company's sales. Gibraltar has seen improving order flow during April, which Lipke said is a sign that the normal seasonal uptick in construction and infrastructure work is taking place later than normal this year.

"Adverse weather delayed the normal seasonal ramp we see in our order rates toward the end of the quarter," he said in a statement.

email: drobinson@buffnews.com

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Source: Buffalo News (NY)


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