Originally created 08/25/04

Toro earnings rise amid healthy sales growth



BLOOMINGTON, Minn. - The Toro Co.'s fiscal third-quarter earnings rose 27 percent amid healthy sales growth in all segments.

In the quarter ended July 30, the Bloomington-based maker of lawn mowers and other maintenance machines earned $34.2 million, or $1.33 a share, on revenue of $454 million. In the same period last year, it earned $27 million, or $1.03 a share, on revenue of $394.5 million.

Earnings in the latest quarter include $228,000 in restructuring credits. Last year's earnings included $1.66 million in restructuring costs.

Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.28 a share for the latest quarter, according to Thomson First Call.

Toro reported professional sales rose 18 percent to $287.9 million. Sales increased in nearly all product categories, although irrigation product sales fell short of the company's expectations.

Residential sales for the third quarter were up 12 percent to $144.2 million. The strongest product categories included snow throwers and electric products.

Worldwide distribution sales for the period increased 9.4 percent to $47.1 million.

In the nine months ended July 30, the company earned $95.7 million, or $3.68 a share, on revenue of $1.31 billion. In the same period last year, it earned $76 million, or $2.92 a share, on revenue of $1.19 billion.

Toro expects fiscal 2004 earnings of $3.82 to $3.90 a share on sales growth of 9 to 10 percent.

In May, the company predicted full-year earnings per share would increase 18 percent to 23 percent from a year earlier, suggesting earnings of $3.68 to $3.84 a share.

Analysts have been expecting earnings of $3.92 a share for the year ending in October, up from fiscal 2003 earnings of $3.12 a share.