Steelcase Inc. (NYSE: SCS) reported a 5% increase in earnings for the first quarter of 2020 helped by higher revenue and expenses leverage. However, the results missed analysts’ expectations. Despite the company guiding second-quarter revenue and earnings above the Street’s view, the stock declined over 8% in the after-market session.
Net income gained 4.7% to $17.8 million and earnings increased 7% to $0.15 per share. Revenue increased by 9% to $824.3 million reflecting growth across all segments.
Orders grew by 15% helped by the strong growth in day-to-day business. The order growth was favorably impacted by a February 2018 list price adjustment which accelerated orders from the first quarter of fiscal 2019 into the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018.
Looking ahead into the second quarter, the company expects revenue in the range of $970 million to $995 million, which would represent 11% to 14% growth compared to $875.8 million of revenue in the prior year. Adjusted for the impact of acquisitions, divestiture and unfavorable currency translation effects, the projected revenue range translates to the expected organic growth of 6% to 9%. Earnings are anticipated to be in the range of $0.41 to $0.45 per share.
For fiscal 2020, the company reaffirmed its revenue growth targets of 5.5% to 9.5% and earnings guidance in the range of $1.20 to $1.35 per share. Steelcase remained on track to achieve its fiscal 2020 targets, despite some signs of slowing economic growth, because customers are continuing to invest in modernized, fluid work environments to support agile work processes and attract, retain and inspire their workforce.
In the first quarter, the gross margin of 31.3% represented a decrease of 30 basis points compared to the prior year, driven by higher cost of sales in the Americas. The Americas experienced continued unfavorable business mix partially offset by benefits from pricing actions taken over the last several quarters, net of higher commodity and freight costs. Gross margin in EMEA improved by 60 basis points, and gross margin in the Other category improved by 30 basis points.
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The Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.145 per share. The dividend will be paid on or before July 16, 2019, to shareholders of record as of July 1, 2019.
Total liquidity, comprised of cash, cash equivalents, and the cash surrender value of company-owned life insurance, aggregated to $309.4 million, and total debt was $486.6 million, at the end of the first quarter.
Shares of Steelcase ended Wednesday’s regular session up 1.31% at $17.77 on the NYSE. The stock has risen over 15% in the past year and over 21% in the year so far.
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