EAST GREENVILLE, PA - Knoll, Inc. (NYSE: KNL) says it will release first quarter earnings on Thursday, April 18, before the market opens.

The manufacturer of branded furniture is hoping for continuation of the good performance in the fourth quarter 2012, which showed good gains in sales and income net income, disguised a little by a $5.4 million one-time gain in 2011 on the curtailment of medical benefits to retirees. 

In its 2012 fourth quarter and year end financial report, which Knoll released in February, the furniture maker said net sales were $250 million, up 12.1% from fourth quarter 2011. Operating profit during the fourth quarter of 2011 included the $5.4 million curtailment benefit associated with the modification of a post-retirement medical benefits. Excluding that, operating profit during the fourth quarter of 2012 increased $5.7 million or 25.4% vesus 2011.

Knoll's net income was $17.5 million during the fourth quarter of 2012 compared to $17.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011 - also distorted because of the medical benefit curtailment's impact in 2011. 

The furniture maker didn't do so well for the year. Net revenue and sales for the year fell in 2012. For the full 2012 year, Knoll's net sales were $887.5 million, down 3.8%. Net income was $50.0 million for 2012, a decrease of 13.8% when compared to 2011.

In Milan, last week, Knoll introduced "Tools for Life," a new collection of furniture by OMA, the collaborative practice co-founded by Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas in 1975. Knoll tapped Koolhaas  (one of his famed U.S. projects is the Seattle Public Library) to help mark its 75th anniversary, joining other architecture luminaries like Mies van der Rohe, Eero Saarinen and Frank Gehry who have designed Knoll pieces.

The signature piece is the O4 Counter. Beginning as a monolithic stack of three horizontal beams, the user can rotate the top two beams and transform this wall-like unit into a series of shelves and cantilevered benches—a metamorphosis from a spatial partition to a communal gathering place. Rigorous engineering and a system of internal bearings and rails facilitate 360 degrees of movement. Patterned wood grain and leather surfaces provide unexpected and subtly sensuous contrasts.

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