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Mohawk sees improvements in Western European markets
May '10
Mohawk Industries, Inc. announced 2010 first quarter net earnings of $21 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.30 which included a restructuring charge of approximately $4 million primarily related to manufacturing infrastructure. Excluding the restructuring charge, net earnings and EPS would have been $24 million and $0.35 per share, respectively. In the first quarter of 2009, the net loss was $106 million and loss per share was $1.55. Excluding the 2009 charges, net earnings and earnings per share would have been $10 million and $0.14 per share, respectively. Net sales for the first quarter of 2010 were $1,347 million which was a 2% increase from 2009 adjusted net sales or a 1% increase with a constant exchange rate. In the quarter we had four more shipping days or about a 6% impact. Our cash position and liquidity remain strong with over $450 million in cash and a capital structure that supports our business.

In commenting on the first quarter results, Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO stated, "Our earnings were higher than expected as the economic cycle has bottomed and we had more favorable cost reductions and foreign exchange. Our first quarter sales were flat compared to the fourth quarter due to an improving residential business. During the first quarter, we have introduced innovative new products, enhanced manufacturing and distribution processes, reduced the cost structure and improved quality and productivity throughout the business. We purchased $200 million of our bonds in April that will save cash and improve earnings this year. Both rating agencies upgraded their outlook of Mohawk to stable, in recognition of our strong cash flow and the improving economy."

Our Mohawk segment net sales were up 2% compared to adjusted sales last year. The industry is lagging the overall economy as compressed housing prices reduced consumer remodeling. Consumer tests show our SmartStrand Sorona carpets are the softest products available in the market place and are favored by our consumers. Mohawk's Etchware, part of our bio-based SmartStrand carpet collection, was recently voted the number one carpet choice by retailers in 2010. Restructurings initiated in 2009 in both carpet and backing plants are substantially complete and are generating cost savings in the business. The 4-6% carpet price increase announced in December will be fully implemented in the second quarter. All our raw materials have increased further than we anticipated in the first quarter with commodity and transportation costs continuing to rise. Consistent with past changes in costs, we have recently announced an additional carpet price increase of 5-7% to recover the change in material costs.

Our Dal-Tile sales were down 5% in the quarter due to the impact of new home construction and the commercial market in the ceramic business. Our market share remains strong and is about five times larger than our nearest competitor. Our Reveal Imaging technology creates random patterns only seen in nature. Using this technology, our new San Michele product offers the industry's most realistic natural stone visuals and was voted the Best Ceramic Tile by retailers this year. We have updated our stone tile offering with additional products at lower price points to satisfy today's value conscious customer. In the first quarter, the Mexican ceramic industry turned positive growing 3% and we continued to outpace the industry improving our market share. Process improvements in tile manufacturing have resulted in increased productivity and quality. New investments have increased capacity and reduced costs in color mixing, glaze and trim production.

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