STATESVILLE, NC - Kewaunee Scientific Corp. (Nasdaq: KEQU) sales and earnings fell 16%. The lab furnishings and architectural millwork firm reported sales of $26.1 million, down from $31.2 million in the year prior quarter.
But net earnings rose to $725,000, around 15%. A favorable product mix, lower operating costs, and favorable impact of a minority interest in its principal international subsidiary offset the unfavorable impact of lower sales during the quarter.
U.S. sales fell $3.6 million, to $22.1 million in the period.
A substantial portion of the decline in domestic sales reported from a change in sales strategy, as Kewaunee moves to sell more laboratory projects through its dealer network. Kewaunee provides the manufactured products; the dealers provide project management, installation and other service activities.
Kewaunee's International operations sales fell $1.5 million to $4,037,000. One manufacturing facility is located in Bangalore, India serving the local and Asian markets. Kewaunee has subsidiaries in Singapore and India.
Order backlogs are also down, as fewer laboratory construction projects of all sizes, public and private, were available in the domestic laboratory market during the quarter, Kewaunee says. "Customers appeared hesitant to move forward on projects because of ongoing political and economic uncertainty," the company said in releasing its sales results earlier this month. But increased international orders are expected to offset the decline in U.S. order backlogs.
"Our third quarter is normally the slowest due to construction cycles and the large number of holidays. The comparable third quarter of last year was an exception to this norm, as several large international projects shipped during that quarter," said David M. Rausch, Kewaunee's CEO. "Although sales and earnings were below the pace of the past several quarters," Kewaunee will "continue to make excellent progress in strengthening our relationships with laboratory planners and architects."
Kewaunee, which specializes in design, manufacture, and installation of laboratory, healthcare, and technical furniture products, is among the largest members of the Architectural Woodwork Institute according to the 2014 Wood Industry Almanac. Lab furniture products include steel and wood cabinetry, fume hoods, modular workstations, biological safety cabinets, and epoxy resin counters and sinks. Healthcare furniture products include laminate casework and storage systems; technical furniture products include column systems, slotted-post systems, pedestal systems, and stand-alone benches.
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