Anixter Reports Record 2015 Fourth Quarter Sales

GLENVIEW, Ill. — Anixter International Inc. reported quarterly sales of $1.84 billion for the quarter ended January 1, 2016, a 26.4 percent increase compared to the year-ago quarter. The current quarter and year-ago quarter each had 61 billing days. Excluding the impact of the following items, organic sales decreased by 0.5 percent year-over-year:

  • $479.6 million favorable impact from the acquisition of Power Solutions
  • $27.8 million unfavorable impact from the lower average price of copper
  • $57.6 million unfavorable impact from the fluctuation in foreign currencies

In the fourth quarter of 2015, in connection with the acquisition of Power Solutions, our legacy Enterprise Cabling & Security Solutions (“ECS”) segment was renamed Network & Security Solutions (“NSS”). The low voltage business of Power Solutions was combined with our historical Electrical and Electronic Wire & Cable (“W&C”) segment and renamed Electrical & Electronic Solutions (“EES”). The high voltage business of Power Solutions forms the Utility Power Solutions (“UPS”) segment. Subsequently, in January 2016, we disclosed pro forma results for historical periods. All commentary in this release reflects these changes and results from continuing operations unless otherwise noted. Please refer to the tables at the end of this release for the reconciliations to GAAP from the adjusted numbers as reported.

Adjusted net income of $29.3 million compares to $36.7 million in the prior year quarter and adjusted earnings per diluted share of $0.88 compares to $1.10 in the prior year quarter. On a year-over-year basis, our earnings were negatively impacted by currency and copper by $8.8 million pre tax and $5.3 million net of tax ($0.16 diluted earnings per share). Excluding the $0.15 diluted earnings per share impact of the higher tax rate related to the first nine months of 2015 and the negative impact of currency and copper, our core adjusted diluted earnings per share would have been $1.19, an 8.2 percent increase from the prior year quarter.

“In spite of significant macro economic headwinds that affected the global economy, we delivered solid growth in our network and security businesses, driven by acceleration in our North America geography,” commented Bob Eck, President and CEO. “In our EES and UPS segments, the soft industrial economy combined with even weaker commodity prices caused results to be lower than we had expected at the beginning of the quarter. Given our cautious outlook for any near term improvement in market conditions, we have taken further restructuring actions across our business and will continue to focus on margin improvement, ongoing expense discipline and working capital efficiencies.”

“From a strategic perspective, the completion of the Power Solutions acquisition marks a milestone for Anixter. Combined with the 2014 acquisition of Tri-Ed and the 2015 sale of our Fasteners segment, we have transformed Anixter into a leading North American electrical products distribution platform, enhanced our competitive position in the electrical wire and cable business and further strengthened our overall customer and supplier value proposition,” commented Bob Eck. “While our EES segment is currently impacted by macro-economic factors including lower commodity prices and a sluggish industrial economy, the acquisition of Power Solutions is a critical strategic step to increase the competitiveness and profitable growth of this business. We are now focused on integration and execution to capture the significant synergy opportunities that exist as a result of our business transformation.”

Income Statement Detail

Gross margin of 20.2 percent compares to 22.1 percent in the prior year quarter and 22.2 percent in the third quarter of 2015. Compared to both periods, the fourth quarter decline is primarily due to the Power Solutions acquisition, with the remainder due to segment mix reflecting EES becoming a smaller percentage of consolidated results.

Operating expense of $305.6 million compares to $241.1 million in the prior year quarter. Adjusted operating expense excludes $16.1 million of expense relating to acquisition and integration-related costs of $4.1 million, a restructuring charge of $2.9 million and Latin America asset write-offs of $9.1 million, resulting in a negative impact to diluted earnings per share of $0.29.

Excluding $16.1 million and $1.5 million of expenses impacting the comparability of results in the current and prior year, respectively and $9.6 million of favorable foreign currency impact in the current quarter, and adjusting for $59.8 million of pro forma Power Solutions expense in the prior year quarter, adjusted operating expense would have been flat versus prior year. As in the first three quarters of 2015, the current quarter operating expense includes the year-over-year incremental impact of approximately $3.0 million from the previously disclosed higher pension and other employee benefit costs. Further adjusting for this expense, adjusted operating expense would have decreased 1.2 percent.

Adjusted operating income of $81.9million, or 4.5 percent of sales, compares to $81.9 million, or 5.6 percent of sales in the prior year quarter. The reduction in operating profit margin is primarily due to the change in mix of the business arising from the Power Solutions acquisition. Including the $16.1 million of expense detailed above and $1.5 million of acquisition and integration-related costs in the prior year quarter, operating income of $65.8 million compares to $80.4 million in the prior year quarter.

Interest expense of $21.1 million increased by $6.0 million compared to the prior year quarter. The increase in interest expense results from the issuance of incremental debt used to finance the Power Solutions acquisition, partially offset by the repayment of the 5.95% Senior notes in March 2015.

Other, net expense of $8.1 million compares to $2.4 million in the prior year quarter. The current year quarter included a loss of $2.9 million related to the currency devaluation of the Argentina peso and $0.9 million of costs associated with the extinguishment of debt. These items resulted in a negative impact to diluted earnings per share of $0.07.

Our fourth quarter adjusted effective tax rate was 48.3 percent, bringing our full year adjusted effective tax rate to 40.5 percent. The increase from the prior year adjusted effective tax rate of 37.5 percent was due to the change in the country mix of earnings. This 300 basis point increase in the rate resulted in a negative impact to diluted earnings per share of $0.15 related to the first nine months of 2015. The current quarter adjusted effective tax rate of 48.3 percent excludes the establishment of valuation allowances primarily in Latin America and other tax related items of $11.8 million in the current quarter which resulted in a negative impact to diluted earnings per share of $0.35.

Adjusted EBITDA of $101.8 million, or 5.5 percent of sales, compares to $95.9 million, or 6.6 percent of sales in the prior year period. The decline in adjusted EBITDA margin reflects the lower gross margin as a result of the Power Solutions acquisition and the slowdown in sales growth caused by weakness in industrial and manufacturing markets.

Segment Update

Network & Security Solutions (“NSS”) sales of $971.6 million compares to $966.5 million in the prior year period, an increase of 0.5 percent. NSS organic sales increased by 3.8percent, adjusting for the $32.0 million unfavorable impact from foreign exchange on current year sales, driven by strength in our North America and EMEA geographies.

Record fourth quarter NSS security sales of $385.5 million, which represents approximately 43 percent of total segment sales, increased 1 percent from the prior year quarter. Adjusted for the $15.1 million negative currency impact, organic security sales growth was 4.5 percent.

Network & Security Solutions adjusted EBITDA of $67.5 million compares to $63.5 million in the prior year quarter. The corresponding adjusted EBITDA margin of 6.9 percent compares to 6.6 percent in the prior year quarter, driven by strong sales growth and effective expense control.

Electrical & Electronic Solutions (“EES”) sales of $528.3 million compares to $485.3 million in the prior year period, an 8.9percent increase. Excluding the $138.0 million favorable impact from the Power Solutions acquisition, the $17.2 million unfavorable impact from foreign exchange and the $27.5million unfavorable impact from lower average copper prices, EES organic sales decreased by 8.1 percent. The decline in organic sales reflects current weak trends we are experiencing with industrial customers, partially offset by modest growth with our OEM customers.

EES adjusted EBITDA of $20.8 million compares to $35.3 million in the prior year quarter. The corresponding adjusted EBITDA margin of 3.9 percent compares to 7.3 percent in the prior year quarter. The decline in adjusted EBITDA was caused by the dilutive impact of the low voltage portion of Power Solutions, combined with the unfavorable impacts of lower copper prices and currency headwinds, together creating significant negative operating leverage.

Utility Power Solutions (“UPS”) sales were $335.9 million in the fourth quarter. Excluding the $8.4 million unfavorable impact from foreign exchange and $0.3 million from copper, UPS organic sales increased by 0.9 percent; however, sales were negatively impacted by slower sales growth in Canada and weakness in oil and gas related markets.

UPS adjusted EBITDA was $15.8 million, or 4.7 percent of sales.

Discontinued Operations

As a result of the sale of Anixter’s Fasteners business in the second quarter of 2015, this business has been presented as Discontinued Operations and the results for all periods have been restated to reflect this classification. A net loss of $0.9 million from discontinued operations was incurred in the quarter, resulting in diluted loss per share from discontinued operations of $0.03.

Cash Flow and Leverage

We generated $91.9 million in cash flow from operations in fiscal 2015 as compared to $104.2 million in fiscal 2014. Full year capital expenditures of $28.6 million compares to $40.3 million in the prior year period. We expect to invest approximately $45 – $50 million in capital investments and generate $125 – $150 million in cash flow from operations in 2016.

“The fourth quarter and full year 2015 reflected a difficult global economic environment, which weakened as the year progressed. As a result, we announced actions in the second quarter and announced additional actions in the fourth quarter, both focused on improving our cost structure,” commented Ted Dosch, Executive Vice President – Finance and CFO. “Turning to our capital structure, our capital allocation priorities include achieving our debt-to-capital target range of 45 – 50% by mid-2017, funded out of the strong free cash flow we expect to generate from our repositioned platform.”

Key capital structure and credit-related statistics for the quarter:

  • Debt-to-total capital ratio of 58.4% compares to 51.6% at the end of 2014
  • Weighted average cost of borrowed capital of 4.8% compares to 4.7% in the year-ago quarter
  • $346.2 million available under revolving lines of credit and secured accounts receivable and inventory facilities

Business Outlook

“As we look at the current year, we are optimistic that the positive momentum and growth trends in our Network & Security Solutions segment will continue, driven by growth in the US and Europe. The ongoing integration of the Tri-Ed business exceeded our goal of $5 million in EBITDA synergies to the combined security business in 2015, and we are applying the same discipline to the Power Solutions integration to ensure our ability to deliver on our synergy opportunities,” commented Bob Eck. “Reflecting diverging trends across our business, we continue to experience softer trends in our EES and UPS segments related to their exposure to industrial and manufacturing end markets, resulting in a more cautious outlook on this portion of the business. Combining our more positive outlook in NSS with our more conservative outlook in our EES and UPS segments, we expect full year 2016 organic sales growth from continuing operations in the negative 2 percent to positive 2 percent range.”

Financial Results from continuing operations

(In millions, except per share amounts)

  Three Months Ended   Twelve Months Ended
Jan 1,   Jan 2,   Percent Jan 1,   Jan 2,   Percent
2016 2015 Change 2016 2015 Change
Net Sales $ 1,835.8 $ 1,451.8 26 % $ 6,190.5 $ 5,507.0 12 %
Operating Income $ 65.8 $ 80.4 (18 )% $ 267.8 $ 310.1 (14 )%
EBITDA $ 73.9 $ 88.7 (17 )% $ 293.8 $ 324.7 (10 )%
Net Income $ 5.5 $ 35.8 (85 )% $ 96.9 $ 163.4 (41 )%
Diluted Earnings Per Share $ 0.17 $ 1.07 (84 )% $ 2.90 $ 4.90 (41 )%
Diluted Weighted Shares 33.5 33.4 % 33.4 33.3 %


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