July 31--Columbus McKinnon Corp.'s first-quarter profits slipped by 4 percent as the Amherst material handling equipment maker paid more taxes than it anticipated and sales grew by 3 percent.
The sales and earnings were both weaker than analysts forecast, as the company's U.S. sales were flat and acquisitions accounted for almost all of its increase in revenues.
At the same time, Columbus McKinnon's operations increased their overall profitability for the 15th straight quarter, and the company was able to raise prices.
Columbus McKinnon's profits fell to $6.7 million or 34 cents per share, from $$7 million, or 36 cents per share, a year ago. That was less than the 41 cents per share that analysts were expecting.
If the company's tax rate, which averaged 33 percent during the quarter, was higher than the roughly 30 percent tax rate that the company considers to be normal. If taxes had fallen within that 30 percent benchmark, Columbus McKinnon's profits would have been flat. The company said its tax rate should range between 28 percent and 33 percent this year. Company officials said the tax rate rose because more of Columbus McKinnon's sales came from higher-tax markets.
The company's sales rose to $142.9 from $138.9 million, falling short of the $151 million that analysts were forecasting.
U.S. sales, which account for 57 percent of the company's revenues, were flat because of a decline in demand for the company's hoist products, while international sales rose by 7 percent as demand rose in Europe and Canada and prices increased. Acquisitions over the past year accounted for $3.9 million of the $4 million increase in sales.
"Our acquisitions continue to perform well," said Timothy T. Tevens, Columbus McKinnon's president and chief executive officer, in a statement.
The company said its backlog of orders rose by 2 percent to $88.3 million at the end of June, up from $86.8 million at the end of March.
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