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Friday, 08 February 2013 07:11

Haworth sales off 5 percent in 2012

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HOLLAND — The sale of two foreign brands caused Haworth Inc.’s sales to dip last year.

The Holland-based office furniture maker this morning announced 2012 global sales of $1.31 billion, a 5-percent decline from the $1.38 billion in 2011. Haworth attributed the decline to the sale of partner companies Group Lacasse in Canada and Castelli in Italy.

“We are satisfied with our 2012 results in what was a challenging economic environment for our industry in many parts of the world,” Haworth President and CEO Franco Bianchi said in a statement. “We continue to aggressively drive key elements of our growth platforms while realizing value in creating new, strategic opportunities.”

This morning’s announcement did not disclose the combined revenues generated by Group Lacasse and Castelli. A January story by an online woodworking trade publication listed Castelli’s 2011 revenues at $36.2 million, citing the Italian buyer, matures AG.

In its announcement, Haworth said it was “encouraged” by growth in Asia and Latin America in 2012 and that the company continued to grow globally.

“In 2013, Haworth will continue its commitment to partner with its customers and redefine the way interiors are designed, built, and maintained over time, resulting in more efficient real estate and a more effective, innovative workforce,” Bianchi said.

The family-owned Haworth does not publicly report earnings and announced its 2012 sales just days after other top players in the office furniture industry report their latest quarterly results.

Iowa-based HNI Corp. earlier this week reported sales of $422.3 million for its furniture segment in the fourth quarter, a 5.0-percent increase from the same period a year earlier. About half of the increase came from acquisitions made during the year, the company said.

Full-year sales for HNI’s furniture segment totaled $1.68 billion for 2012, 10.4-percent higher than in 2011. Acquisitions accounted for $93.0 million of the company’s annual sales growth. During the year, the company saw sales to the federal government decline by 27 percent.

HNI expects sales in the first quarter to decline 2 percent to 7 percent from a year earlier.

“We expect growth in the first quarter of 2013 to be challenging, given continued economic uncertainty related to this ongoing debt ceiling and government spending concerns,” HNI Chairman, President and CEO Steve Askren told brokerage analysts in a conference call. “We do anticipate business spending will improve as the year progresses and we anticipate low-single digit growth for the full year.”

East Greenville, Penn.-based Knoll Inc., which has facilities in Grand Rapids and Muskegon, had a strong quarter, growing sales in is furniture division by 12 percent the final three months of the year to $181.1 million. The quarterly increase is in contrast to full-year furniture sales of $633.3 million for 2012, down from $664.1 million in 2011.

Jasper, Ind.-based Kimball International Inc. reported a sharp 12-percent decline in sales in the furniture segment for the second quarter of its 2013 fiscal year to $130.9 billion. The company attributed the result to a double-digit decline in sales to the federal government and two “unusually large” hospitality projects that shipped in the same a year ago, inflating sales for that period.

Amid this week’s sales reports, the latest quarterly activity index from Michael A. Dunlap & Associates “indicates that the industry is on solid ground and on a positive track.”

The index, based survey with executives on 10 indicators, registered an overall score of 54.30 as of January, down slightly from the 54.68 three months earlier and virtually even to the average index since the survey began in 2004.

“The industry remains on a very steady, albeit flat, trend line. Given current economic conditions, I think this is good news,” said Michael Dunlap. “I maintain the opinion that the industry will continue on its slow growth period into early 2013, then see a modest acceleration during mid to late 2013.”

The personal outlook index among executives of furniture makers and suppliers who respond to the quarterly survey increased to 55.20 in January from 54.52 in October.

Come next month, both Steelcase Inc. and Herman Miller Inc. report results for their latest sales and earnings.

Brokerage analysts expect Grand Rapids-based Steelcase to report quarterly sales of $709.4 million, a 2.7 percent increase from a year ago, and net income of 19 cents per share, according to an average estimate.

Analysts expect Zeeland-based Herman Miller to report quarterly sales of $439.3 million, a 10 percent increase from the same period a year earlier, and net income of 29 cents per share.

Read 1961 times Last modified on Thursday, 14 February 2013 14:55
Mark Sanchez

Senior Writer

msanchez@mibiz.com

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