CALHOUN, GA -- Mohawk Industries, Inc. (NYSE: MHK) today announced 2013 fourth quarter net earnings of $95 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.29. Excluding unusual charges and discontinued operations, net earnings for the quarter were $131 million and EPS was $1.79, a 77% increase over last year's fourth quarter adjusted EPS. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2013 were approximately $1.9 billion, an increase of 34% versus the prior year's fourth quarter or 33% on a constant exchange basis. For the fourth quarter of 2012, net sales were approximately $1.4 billion, net earnings were $66 million and EPS was $0.95; excluding unusual charges, net earnings were $70 million and EPS was $1.01.
For the twelve months ending December 31, 2013, net sales were approximately $7.3 billion, an increase of approximately 27% versus the prior year or 26% on a constant exchange basis. Net earnings and EPS for the twelve month period were $349 million and $4.82, respectively. Excluding unusual charges and discontinued operations, net earnings were $473 million and EPS was $6.55, an increase of 73% over the twelve month adjusted EPS results in 2012. For the twelve months ending December 31, 2012, net sales were approximately $5.8 billion, net earnings were $250 million and EPS was $3.61. Excluding unusual charges, net earnings and EPS were $262 million and $3.78, respectively.
Commenting on Mohawk Industries' fourth quarter performance, Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO, stated, "Our fourth quarter results were better than projected primarily as a result of higher top-line growth in our U.S. ceramic business, a strong performance from our Pergo acquisition and lower interest expense due to an upgrade in our credit rating. Our legacy net sales increased approximately 6% as reported, with additional revenue growth from our recent acquisitions. As a result of improved product mix, increased productivity and SG&A management, our adjusted operating income for the quarter rose 260 basis points from last year to approximately 10% of net sales and for the year improved by 250 basis points to 9.4% of net sales. We believe we are well positioned for both revenue and earnings growth in 2014."
Carpet segment net sales for the quarter were $747 million, up 3% over last year, primarily due to strong performances of the Company's ultra-soft residential products and expansion of the polyester product line. Adjusted SG&A decreased both as a percentage of net sales as well as total expenses from cost reductions and improved execution. The segment's operating margins, excluding unusual charges, for the quarter were approximately 9% of net sales, an increase of 160 basis points from increased volumes, productivity gains, cost reduction and improved product mix. In residential, increased premium carpet sales improved our product mix, and polyester product sales rose substantially as our Continuum introductions gained traction across all channels. In commercial, margins expanded due to new product introductions and the use of performance fibers that enhance our value proposition. Productivity gains are positively impacting our margins, and we lowered costs through reduced changeover costs and waste, enhanced manufacturing alignment, quality improvements and material optimization.
Ceramic segment net sales for the quarter were $738 million, up 84% compared to the prior year, with strong growth from the Dal-Tile business and the Marazzi acquisition. During the period, operating margins, excluding unusual charges, grew 320 basis points to 10% of net sales as a result of higher volumes, efficiency gains and improved product mix. In the U.S., the integration of Dal-Tile and Marazzi has been completed, resulting in new collections with enhanced style and design as well as improved technologies across the business. In Mexico, the Company's ceramic business is increasing distribution, enhancing product mix and improving margins. In Russia, sales benefited from expanded participation in the new construction and home center channels, supported with unique products and dedicated sales teams. Restructuring the Company's ceramic business in Europe reduced cost structures, improved the sales organization through a geographic realignment and decreased manufacturing complexities.
Laminate and wood segment net sales for the quarter were $466 million, up 41% over last year, with most of that increase from growth in the U.S. and the acquisitions of Pergo and Spano. Operating margins, excluding unusual charges, were approximately 12% of net sales, up 260 basis points over the prior year due to lower SG&A, higher volume in North America and reduced amortization. The Unilin and Pergo laminate businesses have been fully integrated, reducing SG&A and improving operational efficiencies. The segment's U.S. wood business grew significantly during the quarter along with new home sales. Legacy European sales were about flat with the prior year on a local basis. Laminate flooring was down slightly in Europe, offset by growth in luxury vinyl tile (LVT). Construction of the Company's new LVT facility in Europe is underway, with production scheduled to commence by the end of 2014. All of Spano and Unilin's administrative and sales functions have now been consolidated. A Spano manufacturing facility was closed during the quarter and production was shifted into other operations.
"Through investments in acquisitions and capital expenditures, productivity improvements and product innovation, we have positioned Mohawk for growth and improved profitability in all segments during 2014," said Lorberbaum. "We have made excellent progress with integrating our acquisitions to maximize their market positions and improve their cost structures. In the U.S., Mohawk is the largest flooring provider with significant shares of the carpet, ceramic, laminate, wood, stone, rug and carpet underlay markets. We are well positioned to improve our results as new construction and remodeling expand in both the residential and commercial categories. In Europe, we continue to lower our cost structure, enhance productivity and improve our product offerings to position the Company for future growth as the industry improves from its cyclical bottom. This year, we anticipate growing both our sales and margins in our legacy businesses and recent acquisitions. We continue to assess additional acquisition opportunities in flooring products around the world to further expand the business. With these factors, our guidance for first quarter earnings is $1.13 to $1.19 per share, excluding any restructuring charges. Our first quarter results are seasonally our lowest and in the past four years represented about 1/7th of our total annual earnings. While the weather in the first half of this quarter has impacted the timing of some of our U.S. orders and shipments, our first quarter results are expected to be in line with normal seasonal patterns. We anticipate orders improving and our backlog declining, limiting the impact on the quarter.
"We are optimistic about the future of the flooring industry and our participation in it. This year, we anticipate increasing capital investments in our businesses to support additional growth, expand our product offerings and reduce costs. We will continue driving all aspects of our business to improve profits and increase shareholder value."
Mohawk Industries is the leading global flooring manufacturer that creates products to enhance residential and commercial spaces around the world. Mohawk's vertically integrated manufacturing and distribution processes provide competitive advantages in the production of carpet, rugs, ceramic tile, laminate, wood, stone and vinyl flooring. Our industry-leading innovation has yielded products and technologies that differentiate our brands in the marketplace and satisfy all remodeling and new construction requirements. Our brands are among the most recognized in the industry and include American Olean, Bigelow, Daltile, Durkan, Karastan, Lees, Marazzi, Kerama Marazzi, Mohawk, Pergo, Unilin and Quick-Step. During the past decade, Mohawk has transformed its business from an American carpet manufacturer into the world's largest flooring company with operations in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Europe, India, Malaysia, Mexico, Russia and the United States.