Quaker Chemical Announces Fourth Quarter and Full Year Results
The decrease in net sales was primarily due to volume declines in all of the Company's regions, as the global economic downturn began to impact the Company
by Impact Wire Wednesday, February 25, 2009
Michael F. Barry, Chief Executive Officer and President, commented, "After starting the year with three strong quarters of sales and profits, 2008 finished with disappointing results due to a dramatic falloff in customer demand around the globe and continued raw material price escalation in certain regions. However, we have taken aggressive actions to reduce our cost structure given the market realities we are facing. In addition, we have recently amended our credit facility to provide more financial flexibility during this uncertain period."
Mr. Barry continued, "We expect our overall demand for products to be lower in 2009 as a result of the global recession with gradual improvement in our volumes as the year progresses. Fortunately, we entered this significant downturn at the end of the third quarter with a strong balance sheet position as our net debt level was at the lowest point since 2005. While 2009 will be a challenging year for Quaker and our customers, we remain confident that our business model, strong associate base, key growth initiatives and solid balance sheet will get us through this difficult period in a profitable manner and position us well for the future."
Fourth Quarter Summary
Net sales for the fourth quarter were $116.2 million, down 18% compared to $142.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2007. The decrease in net sales was primarily due to volume declines in all of the Company's regions, as the global economic downturn began to impact the Company. Volumes were down approximately 25%, which were partially offset by a favorable 11% in selling price and mix. Selling price increases were realized, in part, as a result of an ongoing effort to offset higher raw material costs. Foreign exchange rate translation also decreased revenues by approximately 4%.
Gross margins were down approximately $15.5 million, or 36%, compared to the fourth quarter of 2007, reflective of the above-noted volume declines. The gross margin percentage of 24.2% was also lower than the fourth quarter 2007 gross margin percentage of 30.6%. The decline in gross margin was primarily related to continued high raw material costs which were only partially offset by higher selling prices. The remaining decline in gross margin percentage was due to the impact of manufacturing and other costs being spread over reduced volumes, as well as product and regional sales mix.
Selling, general and administrative expenses ("SG&A") decreased $8.7 million, compared to the fourth quarter of 2007. Investments in higher growth areas were more than offset by significantly lower incentive compensation, lower commissions on lower sales, as well as favorable foreign exchange rate translation. SG&A as a percentage of sales decreased to 23% compared to 25% in the fourth quarter of 2007.
In response to the significant volume declines, Quaker implemented a restructuring program in the fourth quarter of 2008, which eliminated more than 80 positions and included provisions for severance for 57 employees totaling $2.9 million. In a further effort to reduce operating costs, as volume declines continued in the U.S. and Europe and extended to other regions, Quaker implemented an additional restructuring program in the first quarter of 2009, which is expected to include provisions for severance for approximately 50 employees totaling approximately $2.5 to $3 million.
The decrease in other income was primarily the result of foreign exchange losses recorded in the fourth quarter of 2008, compared to gains in the same period of the prior year. The higher net interest expense was due to higher average borrowings and lower interest income.
Full Year Summary
Net sales for 2008 were $581.6 million, up 7% from $545.6 million for 2007. Foreign exchange rate translation increased revenues by approximately 4%. Selling price increases realized across all regions and market segments were partially offset by the fourth quarter volume declines noted above.
Gross margins were down approximately $4.9 million, or 3%, compared to 2007. The gross margin percentage of 28% was also lower than the 2007 gross margin percentage 30.8%. The decline in gross margin percentage was due to increased raw material costs partially offset by price increases, as well as product and regional sales mix.
SG&A for 2008 decreased $2.7 million compared to 2007. Investments in higher growth areas, inflationary increases and unfavorable foreign exchange rate translation were more than offset by lower incentive compensation and lower legal and environmental costs.
Effective October 3, 2008, Ronald J. Naples, Chairman, retired as Quaker's Chief Executive Officer. As further discussed in the Company's Form 8-K filed on May 13, 2008, the Company is recognizing certain accelerated and other costs, in accordance with Mr. Naples' Employment, Transition and Consulting Agreement, which are expected to total $5.8 million over the 2008-2010 period. Incremental costs incurred in 2008 totaled $3.5 million, or approximately $0.22 per diluted share.
In 2007, the Company recorded environmental charges of $3.3 million. The charges consisted of $2.0 million related to the settlement of environmental litigation involving AC Products, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary, as well as an additional $1.3 million charge for the estimated remaining remediation costs.
The decrease in other income was primarily the result of foreign exchange losses recorded in 2008, compared to gains in the prior year. Other income for 2008 also includes a net arbitration award of approximately $1.0 million, or approximately $0.04 per diluted share, related to litigation with one of the former owners of the Company's Italian subsidiary.
The Company's effective tax rate was 29.9% for 2008, compared to 29.3% in the prior year. The 2008 effective tax rate was affected by a changing mix of income among jurisdictions, as well as the derecognition of several uncertain tax positions due to the expiration of applicable statutes of limitations for certain tax years. The effective tax rate for 2007 includes an out of period non-cash tax benefit adjustment of $1.0 million related to the deferred tax accounting for the Company's foreign pension plans and intangible assets regarding one of the Company's acquisitions.
Balance Sheet and Cash Flow Items
The Company's net debt-to-total-capital ratio remained strong at 32% at both December 31, 2008 and 2007, respectively. As discussed in the Form 8-K filed on February 20, 2009, the Company has also amended its credit facility to provide covenant relief related to the 2008 and 2009 restructuring programs and the CEO transition costs. In addition, the amendment temporarily increases the maximum permitted leverage ratio from 3.5 to 4.0 from June 30, 2009 to September 30, 2009, and to 3.75 from December 31, 2009 to March 31, 2010. In February 2009, the Company also amended two Industrial Revenue Bonds totaling $15.0 million to allow for the same changes in terms as the credit facility. On a pro-forma basis, the estimated consolidated leverage ratio as of December 31, 2008 is approximately 2.2.
Quaker Chemical Corporation is a leading global provider of process chemicals, chemical specialties, services, and technical expertise to a wide range of industries - including steel, automotive, mining, aerospace, tube and pipe, coatings and construction materials. Our products, technical solutions, and chemical management services enhance our customers' processes, improve their quality, and lower their costs. Quaker's headquarters is located near Philadelphia in Conshohocken, Pennsylvania.
This release contains forward-looking statements that are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in such statements. A major risk is that the Company's demand is largely derived from the demand for its customers' products, which subjects the Company to downturns in a customer's business and unanticipated customer production shutdowns. Other major risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, significant increases in raw material costs, customer financial stability, worldwide economic and political conditions, foreign currency fluctuations, and future terrorist attacks such as those that occurred on September 11, 2001. Other factors could also adversely affect us. Therefore, we caution you not to place undue reliance on our forward-looking statements. This discussion is provided as permitted by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995.
As previously announced, Quaker Chemical's investor conference call to discuss fourth quarter and full year results is scheduled for February 26, 2009 at 3:30 p.m. (ET). Access the conference by calling 877-269-7756 or visit Quaker's Web site at www.quakerchem.com for a live webcast.
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