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Valmont Industries Inc. (VMI - Analyst Report) logged third-quarter 2012 earnings of $2.12 per share, topping the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.06 and exceeding the prior-year quarter’s earnings of $1.59. The fabricated metal products maker’s profit surged 34.6% year over year to $56.7 million on higher revenues.
 
Revenues jumped 8.6% year over year to $729.8 million, boosted by growth across the board with the company’s Utility Support Structures segment leading from the front. However, sales missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $739 million. 
 
Operating income jumped 25.5% year over year to $90.4 million with operating margin increasing to 12.4% from 10.7% a year ago. 
 
Segment Highlights
 
Revenues from the Utility Support Structures segment climbed 36% year over year to $217.5 million, driven by higher demand from electric utility companies to upgrade the North American transmission grid. International sales grew narrowly as an improvement in Australia was masked by a decline in China.
 
Irrigation Segment sales rose 4% year over year to $156.5 million. International revenues increased in the quarter, aided by higher demand for feed-gains. 
 
The Engineered Infrastructure Products division raked in sales of $229.3 million, up 3% year over year. The company recorded strong revenues from lighting products in Canada. Sales of wireless communication structures and components increased in the quarter, backed by 4G network installations. European lighting and traffic structure sales were flat in local currency while revenues rose modestly in the Asia-Pacific region.
 
Revenues from the Coatings Segment rose 4% to $83.7 million on the back of higher sales in North America. The Asia-Pacific region saw weak demand in Australia.
 
Financial Position
 
Valmont exited the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $427.1 million, up 27% year over year. Total long-term debt decline 4% year over year to $473.5 million.
 
Outlook
 
Looking ahead, Valmont expects continued strength in its utility business in the remainder of 2012. It also expects healthy demand for irrigation equipments from farmers in the fourth quarter.
 
For the Engineered Infrastructure Products and Coatings segments, Valmont do not expect much change in demand levels. Moreover, the company expects a strong 2013 and envisions higher demand for utility support structures as well as strong demand for irrigation equipment based on increased firm income. 
 
Valmont, which competes with Lindsay Corporation (LNN - Analyst Report), maintains a Zacks #2 Rank, which translates into a short-term (1 to 3 months) Buy rating. We currently have a long-term Outperform recommendation on the stock.

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