Acuity Brands, Inc. (AYI - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 results, wherein earnings and revenues surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Earnings surpassed the consensus mark for the second straight quarter, while revenues beat the same for the third successive quarter.
Adjusted earnings of $2.68 per share surpassed the consensus estimate of $2.63 by 1.9%. Also, earnings increased 5% on a year-over-year basis. The upside can be attributed to increase in net sales, driven by growth in the volume of Atrius-based luminaires along with Holophane solutions.
Acuity Brands Inc Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Net sales during the fourth quarter were $1.06 billion, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.02 million by 4.2%. Also, the reported figure increased 11% year over year.
The upside can be attributed to 13% increase in volume, as well as a 1% favorable impact from acquisitions and foreign exchange rates. These were partially overshadowed by a 3% net unfavorable change in product prices as well as mix of products sold ("price/mix"). Notably, for the first time, the company reported net sales of more than $1 billion.
Adjusted gross profit margin was 39% in the quarter under review, down 350 basis points (bps) on a year-over-year basis.
Adjusted selling, distribution and administrative or SG&A expenses were 24.4% of net sales, up 30 bps from 24.1% in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted operating margin was 14.5%, down 390 bps year over year.
Cash and cash equivalents, as of Aug 31, 2018, were $129 million, down from $182 million in fiscal 2017.
Net cash provided by operating activities was $353 million in fiscal 2018 compared with $337 million a year ago.
Fiscal 2018 Highlights
Net sales were up 5% to $3.68 billion year over year.
Adjusted operating profit declined 11% to $528 million from the prior-year level of $592 million.
Adjusted earnings grew 5% to $8.84 from $8.45 in the year-ago period.
Despite reporting better-than-expected results in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018, the company’s shares are down more than 8% during pre-market trading session, after the company said that it is “cautiously optimistic for fiscal 2019.” Per third-party forecasts and leading indicators, the North American lighting market is likely to increase in low-single digits in fiscal 2019.
Acuity Brands expects that a number of actions undertaken during the past several months will overshadow inflationary cost pressures and improve productivity in the first quarter of fiscal 2019.
The company anticipates annual tax rate of approximately 25%. Additionally, capital expenditure is expected to be nearly 1.5% of total net sales.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Currently, Acuity Brands carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the Zacks Construction sector are Continental Building Products, Inc. (CBPX - Free Report) , PGT Innovations, Inc. (PGTI - Free Report) and Patrick Industries, Inc. (PATK - Free Report) . While Continental Building and PGT Innovations sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Patrick Industries carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Continental Building’s earnings are expected to increase 52.6% for the current year.
PGT Innovations’ earnings are likely to grow 80.3% in 2018.
Patrick Industries’ earnings are projected to grow 49.4% for the current year.
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