Fastenal Company (NASDAQ: FAST) reported a 6% increase in earnings for the fourth quarter of 2019 helped by higher sales. The bottom line came in line with the analysts’ expectations while the top line missed consensus estimates.
Net income increased by 6% to $178.7 million or $0.31 per share. Net sales grew by 3.7% to $1.28 billion. Analysts had expected earnings of $0.31 per share on revenue of $1.29 billion for the fourth quarter.
Daily sales grew by 3.7%. For the quarter, the top-line growth was benefited by higher unit sales related to its growth drivers, most notably contribution from industrial vending and Onsite locations. Sales grew 1.8% for fastener products and 5.1% for non-fastener products on a daily basis compared to last year.
For the fourth quarter, the company’s top-line growth continues to be impacted by the general slowing of economic activity that was experienced in the second and third quarters of 2019. This general softness was exacerbated in December by holiday timing and longer than usual year-end plant shutdowns.
Fastenal signed 5,144 industrial vending devices during the fourth quarter. The installed device count on December 31, 2019, was 89,937, up 10.8% from last year. Daily sales through vending devices grew at a low double-digit pace during the quarter helped by an increase in the installed base.
The company signed 79 new Onsite locations during the quarter. At quarter-end, the number of active sites was 1,114, up 24.6% from last year. Daily sales through Onsite locations, excluding sales transferred from branches to new Onsites, grew at a low double-digit pace as revenue from relatively new actives continues to offset the impact of weak demand on more mature sites.
As of December 31, 2019, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $174.9 million while the total debt stood at $345 million. The company produced operating cash flow of $842.7 million, up 25% from last year, driven by a reduced drag from working capital investment than was experienced in 2018 and, to a lesser degree, higher net income.
In 2020, Fastenal expects to sign 22,000-24,000 vending devices. The goal for Onsite signings in 2020 remains 375 to 400. Capital expenditures in 2020 are expected to within a range of $180-205 million, a decrease from $195-225 million in 2019.
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