By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at China Weekly News -- Kewaunee Scientific Corporation (Nasdaq: KEQU) reported results for its first quarter ended July 31, 2014.
Sales for the quarter were $30,534,000, as compared to sales of $32,003,000 in the first quarter last year. Net earnings for the quarter were $1,234,000, or $0.47 per diluted share, as compared to net earnings of $1,587,000, or $0.61 per diluted share, in the first quarter of the prior year. However, both sales and earnings in the first quarter last year were records for the Company.
Domestic operations sales for the quarter were $24,248,000, a decline of 10% from $27,073,000 in last year's record quarter. The domestic laboratory construction marketplace continued to be challenging during the quarter for projects requiring summer delivery, and pricing remained very competitive. Increased project bidding opportunities were experienced in certain geographic areas of the country, and the Company's number of active outstanding quotations for larger laboratory construction projects is the highest in several years. International operations sales for the quarter were $6,286,000, an increase of 28% over sales of $4,930,000 in the first quarter last year. The Company continues to see good opportunities in the international markets, particularly in the growth markets of India and the Middle East.
The order backlog was $82.7 million at July 31, 2014, as compared to $89.0 million at April 30, 2014 and $71.1 million at July 31, 2013. The Company's backlog is expected to benefit as award decisions are made for the outstanding quotations discussed above.
The Company's balance sheet and financial condition remain strong. Unrestricted cash on hand was $4.4 million at the end of the quarter, unchanged from the end of the first quarter last year. Working capital was $27.5 million, as compared to $24.8 million at the end of the first quarter last year. Borrowings and related interest swaps under the Company's revolving credit facility were $5.2 million at the end of the quarter, as compared to $5.1 million at the end of the first quarter last year, and total bank borrowings and interest rate swaps were $9.7 million, as compared to $10.1 million at the end of the first quarter last year.
"We had a solid quarter, both domestically and internationally," said David M. Rausch, Kewaunee's President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our Associates continue to do an excellent job controlling manufacturing and operating costs, strengthening our relationships with laboratory planners, architects, and customers, winning projects, and strengthening the Kewaunee name globally.
"I am excited about our first facility in China which opened on schedule earlier this month in Suzhou Industrial Park. For some time, we have identified China as one of our key growth markets, and this new facility, combined with an on-going expansion of our sales organization in the country, positions us to build on our business in this large and growing laboratory research market.
"Looking forward, we expect a good second quarter and fiscal year 2015 for sales and earnings. Our expectations are based on our strong order backlog, our projections that the softness in the domestic laboratory marketplace will improve, and anticipated increased opportunities in the international marketplace."
Keywords for this news article include: Asia, China, Investment and Finance, Kewaunee Scientific Corporation.
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