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Mohawk will get benefit from Mexican flooring markets
Feb '11
Mohawk Industries Inc. announced 2010 fourth quarter net earnings of $46 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.66.

For the fourth quarter of 2009, the net earnings were $20 million and EPS was $0.29. Excluding unusual items, 2009 fourth quarter net earnings and EPS were $39 million and $0.56 per share. Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2010 were $1.3 billion which was a decrease of approximately 6% versus 2009. Net sales for the quarter increased 2% over the prior year on a constant days and exchange rate basis. For the full year of 2010, our net earnings were $185 million and EPS was $2.65.

For the full year of 2009, our net loss was $5 million and loss per share was $0.08. Net sales for the full year of 2010 were $5.3 billion representing a slight decrease from 2009. On a constant exchange rate and excluding 2009 sales adjustments, net sales decreased 2%. Our cash position and liquidity remain strong with over $500 million available immediately after retiring $300 million of bonds in January 2011.

Commenting on the fourth quarter results, Jeffrey S. Lorberbaum, Chairman and CEO stated, "Our earnings exceeded our expectations as results were positively impacted by enhanced manufacturing efficiencies, benefits from restructuring actions, reducing SG&A costs and improved process consistency. Our operating margin of 6.8% continues to show improvement compared to last year despite rising raw material costs. During 2010, our emphasis on innovation, new products, manufacturing improvements and cost reduction have benefited our margins and increased earnings. Investments in the Russian, Chinese and Mexican flooring markets are expanding our international presence and will provide platforms for future revenue and profit growth. The consensus among economists is that these markets will outperform the more mature U.S. and Western European flooring markets. The U.S. industry decline experienced over the past few years appears to have bottomed with some markets showing signs of improvement."

After adjusting for the lower number of days in the quarter, our Mohawk segment net sales decreased 3% but achieved the highest operating margin in two years despite increasing raw material costs. Manufacturing costs, material yields and process controls have improved from last year. Our market position, after adjusting for the number of days in the period, stabilized in the fourth quarter as we accelerated key introductions in new residential polyester carpets and commercial carpet tile products. We implemented a 7-10% carpet price increase in February to offset our raw material inflation. Sales of our commercial carpet tile continue to grow supported by a broader product offering and an expanded sales force. Improved planning and inventory processes have enhanced our service levels, reducing delivery time and costs.

Our Dal-Tile segment net sales declined 4% as reported but increased 4% after adjusting for the lower number of days this period and a constant exchange rate. In the fourth quarter, we began implementing a price increase of 1-2% to cover rising transportation costs. We have added sales personnel focusing on large commercial accounts and housing contractors to maximize participation in these improving markets. Dal-Tile is leading the industry with advances in decorating technologies created by our Reveal Imaging. We are introducing products that have greater distinction between individual tiles, stronger natural visuals and new textures. We are increasing our Mexican sales and customer base by expanding our product selection and sales force. Our joint venture in China is broadening its product offering, implementing new production technology and supplying tile to existing Mohawk markets. The investment in China will position us long term to take advantage of this growing market.

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