Graham Corporation Reports Record Backlog for Q4 and Fiscal 2010

  • Fourth quarter sales of $13.8 million; 67% from international projects
  • Gross profit margin was a solid 31.1% for the fourth quarter; operating margin was 9%
  • Achieved a new record for backlog at $94.3 million; $18.3 million in new orders during the quarter
  • Exceptionally strong year-end balance sheet with a cash and investment balance of $74.6 million and no bank debt

Graham Corporation (NYSE Amex: GHM), a designer and manufacturer of critical equipment for the oil refinery, petrochemical and power industries, today reported its financial position and results of operations for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended March 31, 2010 ("fiscal 2010").

Net sales were $13.8 million in the fourth quarter, a decline of 44.6% when compared with net sales of $24.8 million in the prior yearís fourth quarter. Net income in the fourth quarter was $0.6 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, a decline of 82.9% compared with net income of $3.6 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, in the same period last year. Excluding a $0.3 million, or $0.03 per diluted share, charge associated with a deferred tax valuation adjustment, net income was $0.9 million, or $0.09 per diluted share.

For fiscal 2010, revenue was $62.2 million, representing a 38.5% decline from revenue of $101.1 million for the year ended March 31, 2009 ("fiscal 2009"). Net income in fiscal 2010 was $6.4 million, a decrease of 63.6% from net income of $17.5 million in fiscal 2009. Earnings per diluted share in fiscal 2010 were $0.64, compared with $1.71 in fiscal 2009.

Mr. James R. Lines, Grahamís President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "As expected, revenue in the fourth quarter was weak as we work our way through what we believe is the trough of the current business cycle. We believe that our deliberate efforts during the strength of the most recent growth cycle to create efficiencies and flexibility allowed us to continue to be profitable despite the dramatic decline in sales we experienced in fiscal 2010 as customers curtailed or reduced major project work. Although we believe that the recovery in our markets is somewhat tentative, we are seeing more activity than we had last year at this time."

Fourth Quarter Review

International sales during the fiscal 2010 fourth quarter were $9.3 million, up from $9.0 million during the same quarter of fiscal 2009. Sales to Mexico, Western Europe, Africa and the Middle East increased but were somewhat offset by lower sales to South America, Asia and Canada. U.S. sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 declined $11.3 million, or 71.6%, to $4.5 million, compared with U.S. sales of $15.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. International sales represented 67% of total sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 compared with 36% in fiscal 2009ís fourth quarter, while U.S. sales comprised 33% of total sales in the current quarter compared with 64% in last yearís fourth quarter. Graham believes that the significant decline in U.S. sales reflects continued weakness in the U.S. refining market, which is expected to continue through fiscal 2011, and perhaps longer. 

In Grahamís leading industries, 34% of sales in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 were to the refining industry, compared with 37% of sales in the same period of the prior fiscal year. Approximately 45% of sales were to the chemical/petrochemical industry during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, compared with 35% in the prior yearís fourth quarter.

Fluctuations in Grahamís sales among geographic locations and industries can vary measurably from quarter to quarter based on the timing and magnitude of projects. Graham does not believe that such quarter-to-quarter fluctuations are indicative of business trends, which Graham believes are more visible on a trailing 12-month basis. Nevertheless, Graham expects that international sales will comprise a larger portion of future revenue for fiscal 2011 and beyond.

Gross profit was $4.3 million, or 31.1% of sales, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010, compared with $9.6 million, or 38.8% of sales, in the same period of the prior fiscal year. Graham has worked through substantially all of the backlog of more profitable orders that were received during the previous strong market cycle and increased competition for orders resulted in lower gross profit margin in the current quarter compared with the prior yearís period.

Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses in the fourth quarter declined to $3.1 million compared with $3.5 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009 due to decreased variable costs, such as commissions related to the decline in sales, as well as to lower salaries and benefits expense as the full contribution of Grahamís fiscal 2009 and fiscal 2010 restructuring initiatives was realized. As a percentage of sales, SG&A was 22.5% in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with 14.1% in the 2009 fourth quarter and reflects the lower level of sales.

Mr. Lines noted, "We worked to preserve our sales and engineering staff during the current downturn because our critical competitive advantage is our customer service and our involvement in the early planning stages of projects that may not quickly come to fruition. We believe that working with our customers at the beginning stages of a project provides us with valuable knowledge and customer insight that in turn provides us with an advantage when the project comes up for bid. We believe that our success in winning orders in the extremely tight project environment is a testament to our customer-oriented market approach."

Operating profit was $1.18 million, or 8.6% of sales. This compares with operating profit of $5.57 million, or 22.4% of sales, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009, which was the end of the last business cycle peak.

Interest income in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 declined to $11 thousand compared with $30 thousand in the same period of the prior fiscal year, primarily as a result of a significant decline in current U.S. Treasury yields compared with a year ago.

Grahamís effective tax rate was unusually high at 48.7% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 compared with an effective tax rate of 36.0% for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2009. The increase was primarily due to the recording of a valuation allowance against deferred tax assets associated with New York state income tax credits that are not expected to be utilized. Excluding this charge, Grahamís effective tax rate would have been 22.7%.

Fiscal 2010 Review

International sales were 55% of sales for fiscal 2010, compared with 37% in fiscal 2009, while U.S. sales represented 45% of sales during the period, compared with 63% last year. Sales to Asia and Africa increased appreciably and sales to Mexico were up slightly. Sales to all other regions declined.

Sales to the refining industry accounted for 41% of revenue in fiscal 2010, down from 46% in fiscal 2009. Chemical/petrochemical sales were 35% of revenue, compared with 27% last year, and 24% of fiscal 2010 sales were to other markets, compared with 27% in fiscal 2009.

Gross profit for fiscal 2010 was $22.2 million, or 35.7% of sales, compared with $41.7 million, or 41.3% of sales, in fiscal 2009. The decline was primarily related to the lower sales volume somewhat offset by cost reduction initiatives, procurement initiatives and gains in operating efficiencies achieved as part of Grahamís continuous improvement program.

SG&A expenses were $12.1 million, or 19.4% of sales, in fiscal 2010 compared with $14.8 million, or 14.7% of sales, in fiscal 2009. The decrease in dollars was due primarily to reduced commissions on lower sales as well as to the effects of Grahamís restructuring initiatives.

For fiscal 2010, Grahamís effective tax rate was 36.8% compared with 34.7% in fiscal 2009. The increase is due to $0.7 million in non-recurring charges in fiscal 2010. The combination of these charges and a related interest charge impacted fiscal 2010 earnings by $0.8 million, or approximately $0.08 per share. Excluding the tax charges, Grahamís effective tax rate was 29.1%. The effective tax rate for fiscal 2011 is expected to be 30% to 33%.

Strong Balance Sheet with Significant Cash Position

Cash, cash equivalents and investments at March 31, 2010 were $74.6 million, compared with $57.7 million at December 31, 2009 and $46.2 million at March 31, 2009. The higher cash balance at fiscal year-end was largely related to a significant increase in negotiated customer deposits. These deposits are expected to be used to procure materials for the related projects that are expected to be completed in fiscal 2011 and 2012. Approximately $70.1 million was invested in U.S. Treasury notes with maturity periods of 91 to 180 days at March 31, 2010. As of March 31, 2010, Graham had no borrowings, excluding letters of credit, against its $30.0 million revolving line of credit facility.

Net cash provided by operating activities for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 was $17.5 million, compared with $3.6 million in the prior yearís fourth quarter. For all of fiscal 2010, cash provided by operations was $30.3 million compared with $11.0 million in cash provided by operations during fiscal 2009. The increase in both the quarter and full year periods was related to the increase in customer deposits, as discussed above. In addition, the full year increase reflects a sizable reduction in unbilled revenue offset by a large pension plan contribution that was made in fiscal 2009.

Capital expenditures were $501 thousand in the fourth quarter and $1.0 million for fiscal 2010, compared with $299 thousand for the fourth quarter and $1.5 million for fiscal 2009. Capital expenditures in fiscal 2011 are expected to be approximately $2.8 million to $3.3 million. The planned capital spending increase for fiscal 2011 compared with fiscal 2010 is primarily attributed to $1.5 million in equipment that will be required to complete the large U.S. Navy program order that Graham won in the third quarter of fiscal 2010. Approximately 80% of capital spending is expected to be for machinery and equipment, and information technology and other anticipated expenditures will each account for approximately 10% of anticipated capital spending.

There were no repurchases of shares in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 under Grahamís previously announced stock buyback program.

Record Backlog Extends into Fiscal 2012

Orders during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 were $18.3 million compared with orders of $20.5 million in the prior yearís fourth quarter. Orders from international customers were $11.1 million, or 61% of total orders, while U.S. customers were $7.2 million, or 39% of total orders. This compares with last yearís fourth quarter when international orders were $12.9 million and U.S. orders were $7.6 million, or 63% and 37% of total orders, respectively.

Grahamís backlog was a record $94.3 million at March 31, 2010 compared with $48.3 million at the end of last yearís fiscal fourth quarter and $89.8 million at December 31, 2009. The large order for equipment to be used by the U.S. Navy was included in backlog in both the third and fourth quarters of fiscal 2010. At March 31, 2010, there were four orders in backlog with a value of approximately $7.0 million which remained on hold. There were no orders put on hold or canceled during the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010; however, subsequent to the end of the quarter, one of the orders in backlog, valued at $1.4 million, was cancelled. Graham believes it is well-positioned to convert existing backlog to meet customer demand.

Approximately 37% of projects in Grahamís backlog as of the end of the fourth quarter are for refinery projects, 15% for chemical and petrochemical projects and 48% for power and other markets compared with 38%, 35% and 27%, respectively, at March 31, 2009. Included in backlog are several large orders, including the order related to the U.S. Navyís carrier program, that are not expected to begin to be delivered until fiscal 2012 and beyond. Consequently, Graham expects only about 50% to 60% of its current backlog to ship in the next twelve months, as opposed to the typical 85% to 90% of backlog that would normally ship in a twelve-month period.

Graham expects sales for the first half of fiscal 2011 to be very similar to the last half of fiscal 2010 and that the first half of fiscal 2011 will represent the tail end of this cycleís trough. Gross margins are expected to generally be in the mid-to-upper 20 percent range during fiscal 2011 due to a more competitive order environment. Looking to the second half of fiscal 2011, Graham believes that the potential for sales are expected to be much stronger based on current backlog, with the majority of anticipated growth coming from Asia, the Middle East and, to a lesser extent, South America. Based on this scenario, Graham expects revenue for fiscal 2011 will be in the range of $65 million to $72 million. During fiscal 2011, gross margin is expected to be in the range of 27% to 31% and SG&A is expected to be in the range of $12.5 to $13.0 million.

Mr. Lines concluded, "The recovery remains tentative and the environment for limited projects is highly competitive. Nonetheless, we continue to defend our leading position as the premier provider of engineered-to-order vacuum systems and surface condensers for the energy and petrochemical industries. In the long run, we believe the global energy market will continue to grow steadily and we intend to capitalize on growth opportunities both through organic growth and acquisitions."

Webcast and Conference Call

Graham will host a conference call and live webcast today at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. During the conference call and webcast, James R. Lines, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Jeffrey F. Glajch, Vice President - Finance & Administration and Chief Financial Officer, will review Grahamís financial and operating results for the fourth quarter and year ended March 31, 2010, as well as Grahamís strategy and outlook. A question-and-answer session will follow.

Grahamís conference call can be accessed by dialing 1-201-689-8560 and requesting conference ID number 349423. The webcast can be monitored on Grahamís Web site at www.graham-mfg.com.

To listen to the archived call, dial 1-201-612-7415, and enter the conference ID number 349423 and account number 3055. A telephonic replay will be available from 2:00 p.m. on the day of release through May 28, 2010, at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. A transcript will also be posted, once available.