Ronald D. Croatti, UniFirst President and Chief Executive Officer said, “We are very pleased with the results of our first fiscal quarter. Although employee levels at our existing customers remained unchanged during the quarter, we were able to deliver profitable growth by continuing to sell the value of our services to current and prospective customers.”
First quarter revenues in the Core Laundry Operations were $294.6 million, up 8.2% from those reported in the prior year’s first quarter. Excluding the effect of a stronger Canadian dollar, revenues grew 8.0%. This segment’s income from operations increased 27.3% year to year.
The operating margin expanded to 15.1% from 12.8% a year earlier. Increased profitability resulted from improved operating leverage that came with our strong revenue growth. Expenses related to plant operations, depreciation and selling and administrative outlays were all lower as a percentage of revenue compared to the prior year.
Lower energy costs also contributed to the improved operating margin. Merchandise amortization was flat as a percentage of revenues compared to the same quarter a year ago.
Revenues for the Specialty Garments segment, which consists of nuclear decontamination and cleanroom operations, were $27.9 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2013, down 7.9% from $30.3 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. This segment had income from operations for the quarter of $4.7 million down from $6.6 million in the same quarter a year ago.
Net income comparisons benefited from exchange rate gains of $0.2 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013 compared to exchange rate losses of $0.6 million a year ago. The effective income tax rate for the first quarter was 39.0% compared to 38.3% in the same quarter in fiscal 2012.
UniFirst continues to maintain a solid balance sheet and financial position. Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the quarter totaled $152.7 million, up from $120.1 million at the end of fiscal 2012. Cash provided by operating activities for the quarter was $56.2 million, up 83.2% compared to $30.7 million for the first quarter of fiscal 2012.
The improved cash flows were primarily the result of higher earnings as well as lower cash outflows related to working capital. At the end of the quarter, total debt was $109.0 million or 10.5% of total capital.
About UniFirst Corporation
UniFirst Corporation is one of the largest providers of workplace uniforms, protective clothing, and facility services products in North America. The Company employs approximately 11,000 Team Partners who serve more than 240,000 customer locations in 45 U.S. states, Canada, and Europe from over 200 customer service, distribution, and manufacturing facilities.