Mettler-Toledo International, Inc. ( MTD Quick Quote MTD - Free Report) reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings of $8.72 per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.7%. The bottom line also improved 24.2% on a year-over-year basis. Net sales of $951.95 million were up 18% on a reported basis and 16% on a currency-neutral basis from the year-ago quarter’s respective levels. The figure surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $925 million. Solid momentum across the Laboratory and Industrial segments in the reported quarter drove top-line growth. Strong performance delivered by the company across all geographies remained a major positive. However, the company witnessed sluggishness in its Food Retail segment. Headwinds related to the pandemic remain concerning for the company in the days ahead. However, portfolio strength, cost-cutting efforts, margin and productivity initiatives, and robust sales and marketing strategies are expected to remain tailwinds. Top Line in Detail By Segments: The company reports under three segments, namely Laboratory Instruments, Industrial Instruments and Food Retail, which accounted for 56%, 39% and 5% of the net sales in the third quarter, respectively. The Laboratory and Industrial segments witnessed year-over-year growth of 23% and 12%, respectively, in the quarter under review. The Food Retail business was down 19% on a year-over-year basis. By Geography: The company reports total sales from the Americas, Europe and Asia/Rest of the World. All the regions contributed 39%, 28% and 33% to net sales in the third quarter, respectively. Sales in the Americas, Europe and Asia/Rest of the World went up 21%, 15% and 23%, respectively, on a year-over-year basis. Operating Results
Gross margin was 58.4%, expanding 20 basis points (bps) year over year.
Research & development (R&D) expenses were $42.3 million, up 21.9% from the year-ago quarter’s level. Selling, general & administrative (SG&A) expenses increased 17.4% year over year to $240.7 million. As a percentage of sales, R&D expenses expanded 10 bps year over year to 4.4%. SG&A expenses contracted 10 bps year over year to 25.3%. Adjusted operating margin was 28.7%, which expanded 20 bps from the prior-year quarter’s level. Balance Sheet & Cash Flow
As of Sep 30, 2021, the company’s cash and cash equivalent balance was $183.7 million, up from $142.3 million as of Jun 30, 2021.
Long-term debt was $1.64 billion at the end of the third quarter, increasing from $1.60 billion at the end of the second quarter. Mettler-Toledo generated $263.3 million in cash from operating activities in the reported quarter, up from $245.5 million in the previous quarter. Free cash flow was $243.05 million in the reported quarter. Guidance
For fourth-quarter 2021, Mettler-Toledo projects year-over-year sales growth of 8% in local currency. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for sales is pegged at $1.02 billion.
Adjusted fourth-quarter earnings are anticipated to be $10-$10.05 per share, implying an 8-9% rise from the year-ago quarter’s reported figure. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings is pegged at $9.96 per share. For 2021, the company anticipates year-over-year sales growth of 17%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year sales is pegged at $3.67 billion. Mettler-Toledo raised the guidance for adjusted 2021 earnings from $32.60-$32.90 per share to $37.25-$37.65. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the same is pegged at $32.86 per share. Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Currently, Mettler-Toledo has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Other better-ranked stocks in the broader technology sector include Advanced Micro Devices ( AMD Quick Quote AMD - Free Report) , PerkinElmer ( PKI Quick Quote PKI - Free Report) and Mimecast Limited ( MIME Quick Quote MIME - Free Report) . While Advanced Micro Devices sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), PerkinElmer and Mimecast carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here Long-term earnings growth rates for Advanced Micro Devices, PerkinElmer, and Mimecast are currently projected at 46.2%, 41.7%, and 35%, respectively.