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Masco Gains from Repair & Remodel Activity, Lower Sales Hurt

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Masco Corporation’s (MAS - Free Report) shares have improved 27.5% so far this year compared with the industry’s collective rise of 21.8%. The company continues to benefit from solid repair and remodel business as well as strong growth in the new construction business.

Also, focus on streamlining its portfolio bodes well for this leading home improvement and building products manufacturer.

However, lower volume and softness in certain markets are concerns.


Key Growth Drivers

Repair and remodel spending as well as household formations has steadily increased throughout 2018, courtesy of the millennial demography. This trend is expected to be conducive to Masco’s revenues and earnings in the long term. Notably, sales in the Cabinets and Related Products segment increased 9% year over year in the first quarter of 2019, backed by growth in the repair and remodel as well as new construction businesses.

Adjusted operating margin increased an impressive 650 basis points (bps). Also, EBITDA jumped significantly to $25 million from the prior-year quarter’s figure of $9 million.

Masco also focuses on acquisitions to expand its portfolio. The acquisition of Kichler Lighting in 2018 expanded its footprint in the fragmented $6-billion U.S. residential lighting industry. Notably, Kichler Lighting is a leading provider of decorative residential and commercial lighting products, ceiling fans as well as LED lighting systems.

The buyout has significantly contributed to sales growth in the Decorative Architectural Products segment. Masco’s 2019 performance will continue to be leveraged by Kichler's product portfolio, with existing and new customers realizing further operational improvements along with the optimization of its brand and go-to-market capabilities.

Meanwhile, Masco regularly divests its less profitable and underperforming businesses to focus on its core areas to accelerate growth and improve shareholders’ value. In March 2019, the company announced that it was undertaking strategic alternatives for its cabinetry and window businesses, which include well-known brands like Merillat and KraftMaid.

The review, which is expected to be completed by the end of June, includes possibilities of divestitures. We expect the announcement to bode well for the company as it will remove cyclicality and lower-margin businesses. This move will also drive liquidity and enable the company to strengthen its product portfolio and boost better-performing businesses.

The company is focused to drive shareholders’ value through reinvesting in the business, selectively pursuing acquisitions with the right fit and return as well as returning cash to shareholders through repurchases and dividends. In the first quarter, Masco returned approximately $157 million through share repurchases and dividends.

Key Impediments

Masco’s top line is suffering from inventory rebalancing by a few customers, lower volume, unfavorable mix and softness in certain markets. Masco’s first-quarter sales dropped 0.6% on a year-over-year basis. Also, organic sales (excluding acquisitions and currency) fell 2% from the prior-year quarter’s level, thanks to lower contributions from Plumbing and Windows divisions.  Further, North American sales (in local currency) declined 2% and international sales dipped 1% year over year.

Additionally, tepid expectation for 2019 raises concern. Plumbing revenues are expected to grow between 3% and 5% for 2019, assuming flat operating margins year over year. Decorative Architectural Products sales are expected in the lower end of the previous guidance of 4-6%. Also, margins are projected in the range of 17-18%. This includes the benefit of the Kichler acquisition.

For Cabinets, Masco continues to expect sales growth between 0% and 3% and segmental margins are likely to be in line with 2018 levels. For Windows, it continues to expect sales growth in the 1-3% band (excluding currency) with modest margin improvement.

Nonetheless, the company is confident about the rest of 2019 considering recent sales trend and industry fundamentals.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Masco currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Some better-ranked stocks in the same space include Arcosa, Inc. (ACA - Free Report) , TopBuild Corp. (BLD - Free Report) and Construction Partners, Inc. (ROAD - Free Report) . While Arcosa and TopBuild sport a Zacks Rank #1, Construction Partners carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Arcosa and TopBuild’s earnings per share (EPS) is expected to witness 12.6% and 19.1% growth in 2019, respectively.

Construction Partners has an expected three-five year EPS growth rate of 10%.

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