First Quarter Highlights
*Record operating income and adjusted earnings per share, driven by double-digit earnings growth in both segments.
*Consolidated sales increase 1 percent (8 percent on a constant currency basis).
*Earnings per diluted share of $0.95 up 20 percent compared with adjusted earnings per share of $0.79 in 2014. Prior year adjusted E.P.S. excluded $0.01 for restructuring costs.
*Initial dividend paid at the previously announced increased quarterly rate of $0.30 per share.
“Our businesses had a strong start to the year led by volume-driven growth in filtration and other technical products markets as well as margin recovery in Fine Paper and Packaging following last year’s spike in winter energy costs. While the strong US dollar materially impacted our top line, effective cost control and lower input costs helped our teams completely mitigate currency impacts on the bottom line,” said John O’Donnell , Chief Executive Officer.
Consolidated net sales of $228.2 million in the first quarter of 2015 grew 1 percent compared with $225.1 million in the first quarter of 2014. Growth resulted from volume gains in Technical Products, including the July 2014 filtration acquisition, improved selling prices and a higher value mix in both business segments. These items more than offset the impact of currency translation, which reduced sales by $14 million, or 7 percent, due to a stronger US dollar versus the euro.
Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expense of $21.9 million in the first quarter of 2015 increased from $19.9 million in the first quarter of 2014. Higher costs in 2015 included ongoing costs for the acquired filtration business and timing impacts of certain other expenses.
Adjusted operating income was $28.8 million in 2015 compared with $23.3 million in the first quarter of 2014. While there were no adjusting items in 2015, 2014 adjusted operating income excluded $0.3 million for restructuring costs. Higher income in 2015 reflected revenue growth and lower input costs in 2015 that more than offset increased SG&A and negative impacts of currency translation.
Net interest expense of $3.0 million in the first quarter of 2015 increased from $2.8 million in the first quarter of 2014 as a result of additional borrowing in Germany in December 2014 that was used to repatriate cash to the US.