Toro moves to loss in 4Q on lower sales

AP News
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Posted: Dec 08, 2009 1:30 PM

Toro Co., maker of turf maintenance equipment, said Tuesday it moved to a loss in the fourth quarter as sales fell by a double-digit percentage.

The company also predicted its first-quarter and 2010 profit would be lower than what analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect, on average.

Toro said 2010 profit would be about $2 per share, less than the $2.08 per share prediction. It also said first-quarter profit would be 18 cents to 20 cents per share, lower than the 24 cents per share analyst expectation.

In the quarter that ended Oct. 31, Toro lost $532,000, or 2 cents per share, compared to a profit of $13,000, or less than a penny per share, a year earlier. Analysts had expected a loss of 11 cents per share.

Revenue in the quarter fell 15 percent to $288.6 million from $341.2 million. Analysts had expected $294.2 million.

Professional segment sales slid 22 percent to $165.3 million during the quarter, while residential segment sales dipped 2.8 percent to $115.9 million.

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However, gross margins improved to 33.9 percent from 29.9 percent, reflecting lower commodity costs, Toro said.

For the full year, profit fell 47 percent to $62.8 million, or $1.73 per share, from $119.7 million, or $3.10 per share, last year. Yearly revenue fell 19 percent to $1.52 billion from $1.88 billion.

Shares of the Bloomington, Minn., company fell 10 cents to $39.84 in afternoon trading.