Columbus McKinnon’s third-quarter profits jumped by 13 percent, easily topping analyst forecasts, as the Amherst material handling equipment maker grew rapidly in China and other emerging markets.
That growth, coupled with price increases and a quarter that included two additional shipping days, led to a 7 percent increase in Columbus McKinnon’s sales, although company executives warned Friday that its future growth could slow because of weakness in its European markets.
“We’re expecting slow growth,” said Timothy T. Tevens, Columbus McKinnon’s president and chief executive officer, during a conference call. “I think it’s a tentative market out there.”
Tevens said the recession in Europe will hurt the company’s sales in the coming months, while it also is seeing U.S. sales growth slow.
“We’re seeing Europe being very fragile,” he said. “The U.S. is doing fine. It’s just not growing as rapidly as we’d like.”
During the third quarter, Columbus McKinnon’s profits jumped to $9.6 million, or 49 cents per share, from $8.5 million, or 44 cents per share, a year ago, easily beating the 30 cents per share that analysts were expecting.
The company’s sales grew by 7 percent to $153 million during the quarter that ended in December, compared with $143 million a year earlier. U.S. sales, which account for 54 percent of the company’s revenues, grew by 5 percent on the strength of its energy and entertainment markets, although the growth rate was cut in half because this year’s figure does not include any revenue from the Gaffey crane business it sold during 2012.
International sales grew by almost 10 percent, with revenues from emerging markets jumping by 42 percent as Columbus McKinnon pushed into new markets in South Africa, Turkey, Morocco and Dubai. Excluding fluctuations in exchange rates, international sales grew by 13 percent.
The company’s backlog of orders fell by 8 percent to $95.4 million at the end of December, compared with $104.2 million at the end of 2011, which Tevens said was the result of several large orders shipping late last year.