JBT Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter Results

CHICAGO, March 2 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

Full Year 2009 highlights:

Fourth quarter highlights:

JBT Corporation (NYSE: JBT), a leading global technology solutions provider to the food processing and air transportation industries, today reported fourth quarter and full year 2009 results.

Revenue for the quarter of $246.0 million increased 5 percent from the prior-year quarter. Fourth-quarter income from continuing operations was $10.6 million, up 3 percent from the prior-year quarter. Diluted earnings per share from continuing operations for the quarter were $0.37, flat compared to the prior-year quarter. During the quarter, the company incurred restructuring charges of $0.4 million to continue to reduce costs and recorded a $1.4 million loss reserve related to product liability litigation in Tunisia. Additionally, the company reported a lower tax rate in the quarter due to recognition of international withholding tax credits and certain deferred tax assets amounting to $1.1 million associated with a foreign subsidiary. The net unfavorable impact of these items to fourth quarter earnings per diluted share was $0.01. Fourth-quarter inbound orders of $195.0 million declined 5 percent from the prior-year quarter. Backlog of $211.2 million was down 26 percent from the same period in 2008.

Full-year revenue of $841.6 million was 18 percent lower than the prior year; 2 percentage points of this decline resulted from unfavorable foreign currency translation. Gross profit margin of 26.2 percent increased 170 basis points from 2008. Full-year income from continuing operations was $32.8 million, down 18 percent from pro forma income from continuing operations in 2008 (calculated on a pro forma basis to include comparable debt and interest expense). Full-year diluted earnings per share from continuing operations were $1.15, a 20 percent decline compared to pro forma diluted earnings per share in 2008. In 2009, the company incurred restructuring charges of $3.9 million in response to lower demand for some of its product lines.

"We are pleased with the strong finish to 2009," said Charlie Cannon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "Our profit margins held up well despite the challenging environment, reflecting our focus on project execution, aggressive cost control and the strength of our recurring revenue base, and we further significantly reduced net debt. We are seeing signs of increasing order activity; however, the trend toward smaller projects and longer sales cycles continues. We expect our strong recurring revenue base and continued cost control initiatives to position the company well for another solid year of performance in 2010."

JBT FoodTech

JBT FoodTech's fourth quarter revenue was $161.4 million, a 21 percent increase over the prior-year period. In constant currencies, revenue increased 13 percent due to strong demand for freezing equipment in Asia and shipment of two large sterilization projects in the U.S. Activity in both Western Europe and North America is improving, but demand from Latin America remains very weak. JBT FoodTech's operating profit was $16.0 million, down 13 percent from the same period in 2008. Operating margins were 9.9 percent, down from 13.8 percent in the prior-year quarter, primarily due to a higher proportion of new equipment sales versus higher margin aftermarket sales, a loss reserve for product liability litigation in Tunisia as well as competitive pricing pressure. Inbound orders totaled $127.9 million for the quarter, a decline of 5 percent from the prior-year quarter and down 11 percent in constant currencies largely reflecting smaller project sizes. Inbound orders were 2 percent higher than in the third quarter of 2009. Backlog of $96.7 million was down 35 percent from the prior-year quarter and down 26 percent sequentially from the third quarter of 2009. The shipment of two large orders during the fourth quarter and the trend toward smaller order sizes contributed to the backlog decline.

JBT AeroTech

While JBT AeroTech's fourth quarter revenue of $84.8 million declined 18 percent, operating profit of $8.0 million improved 10 percent compared to the prior-year period. The lower revenue reflected continued weak demand for JBT AeroTech's ground support equipment product line from both airline and airfreight industries. Cost savings from restructuring initiatives, improved project margins for the gate equipment product line, and favorable mix of higher margin products more than offset the impact of lower revenue. As a result, JBT AeroTech operating margin for the quarter was 9.4 percent - the best performing quarter in 2009, reflecting a 230 basis point increase from the prior-year period. Inbound orders totaled $67.1 million, down 9 percent from the same period last year, primarily due to timing of contract awards for the gate equipment product line and down 8 percent sequentially from the third quarter of 2009. Inbound orders for the ground support equipment product line were slightly higher than the prior-year period, pointing to an apparent bottom in demand decline for this product line. Backlog of $114.7 million was down 17 percent from the prior-year quarter and down 13 percent sequentially from the third quarter of 2009.

Corporate Items

Corporate expense in the quarter was $4.4 million, down $0.6 million from the fourth quarter of 2008, reflecting lower expense levels.

Other expense, net of $2.1 million declined $1.5 million versus the prior-year quarter, primarily driven by the absence of unrealized foreign exchange losses recorded in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Cash generated from operating activities in the quarter was $20.9 million. The company ended the quarter with debt, net of cash, of $117.8 million, a reduction of $15.0 million from the third quarter of 2009. Net interest expense for the quarter was $2.2 million.

The year-to-date effective tax rate from continuing operations was 32.9 percent.

Full-year capital expenditures totaled $19.8 million and depreciation and amortization totaled $22.6 million.

2010 Outlook

The company anticipates improved market conditions for many of its product lines in 2010. However, smaller projects and longer project lead-times have limited the company's visibility into 2010. As a result, the company will provide a market update during tomorrow's earnings call and will consider providing earnings guidance with its first quarter 2010 earnings report.

SOURCE: JBT Corporation

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