Newell Rubbermaid today announced its fourth quarter 2013 financial results. “We achieved a strong set of fourth quarter 2013 results, including the best quarterly core sales growth rate in years,” said Michael Polk, president and CEO.
“Our core sales grew 4.4% with broad-based increases across all four regions and four of our five operating segments: Baby & Parenting, Commercial Products, Tools, and Writing. Our strong topline growth was driven by innovation, new distribution, and increased advertising that was fueled by overhead reductions related to project renewal. The topline growth, combined with solid operating margins, drove normalized EPS growth of more than nine percent to $0.47,” said Polk.
“2013 was a year of great progress for Newell Rubbermaid,” he continued. “We transformed our company’s structure from a holding company of nine individual global business units to an operating company where our five business segments leverage a set of strong functional capabilities organized and led across Newell Rubbermaid as a whole. This new operating model has realigned resources from structural overhead to investment in our brands and key capabilities: marketing and insight, design, customer development and our new global supply chain.”
For the fourth quarter, Newell Rubbermaid’s net sales were $1.49 billion, a 2.9% increase versus prior year results. Core sales, which exclude the impact of changes in foreign currency, grew 4.4%. Normalized diluted earnings per share were $0.47, an increase of 9.3% versus the prior year period. Reported diluted earnings per share were $0.41, an increase of 17.1% versus the prior year period.
Operating cash flow was $304.2 million versus $261.3 million in the prior year period. The company paid dividends of $42 million and purchased 9.4 million shares of common stock under the $350 million accelerated share repurchase program announced in October. The number of shares ultimately purchased under the program will be determined by a formula tied to the volume-weighted average share price of the company’s stock during the term of the program, expected to be completed no later than April 2014. The company provided initial guidance for 2014 core sales growth of three to four percent, operating margin improvement of up to 40 basis points, normalized EPS of $1.94 to $2.00 and operating cash flow of $600 to $650 million.