Apogee Enterprises Celebrates Strong Growth, New Acquisition

By Dan Caplinger Markets Fool.com

Companies with exposure to construction have done very well in the past month, because investors have ramped up their expectations of how well the industry will do in light of the results of the U.S. presidential election. Architectural glassmaker Apogee Enterprises (NASDAQ: APOG) stands to benefit from any uptick in construction activity as customers recognize the added value that its glass products bring to modern projects.

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Coming into Wednesday's fiscal third-quarter financial report, Apogee investors believed that the company would keep producing impressive growth, and the numbers showed that Apogee was even more successful than most had expected. In addition, the company announced an acquisition that could boost future growth even further. Let's look more closely at Apogee Enterprises to see what's coming down the road.


Image source: Apogee Enterprises.

Apogee shines with better numbers

Apogee's fiscal third-quarter results showed how well the company has done in capitalizing on recent opportunities. Revenue climbed by 15% to $274.1 million, which was slightly higher than most investors were looking to see. Earnings came in at $0.78 per share, which was $0.01 better than the consensus forecast among those following the stock and were up 24% from the year-ago quarter.

As we've seen in past quarters, Apogee benefited both from external conditions and from efforts to improve its efficiency. Operating income climbed 19%, and Apogee's operating margin was up by nearly half a percentage point to 12.1%, continuing a long trend of improving performance. Meanwhile, the company said that it had done a good job of positioning the company to capture more of the market for architectural glass.

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Apogee's segment results showed the same disparities we've seen for a while. The architectural glass segment performed the best, with a 25% jump in revenue and 40% gains in operating income. Architectural framing also saw solid gains of 19% on the top line and 28% in operating income, with a jump of almost a quarter in backlog for the business. Architectural services saw operating income rise by a third on modest sales gains of 5%. Once again, the large-scale optical business lagged, with lower volume sending revenue down 9% and reducing operating income by more than a fifth.

CEO Joseph Puishys was happy with how the company has done. "We again delivered on strategic initiatives to better position Apogee over a cycle," Puishys said, "including growing our share of mid-size projects in architectural glass and expanding penetration of the retrofit market." The CEO also pointed to its strong position in commercial construction markets generally as a contributing factor to its growth.

What's ahead for Apogee?

Apogee also pointed to the acquisition of Canadian curtain-wall system specialist Sotawall Ltd. has a potential driver of growth. The $135 million acquisition will integrate the highly complementary business under the Apogee corporate umbrella, and it will also increase Apogee's geographical reach to cover more of Canada as well as the U.S. market.

Because of its strong results, Apogee also raised its fiscal 2017 guidance, something that investors have gotten used to see nearly every quarter. Now, Apogee believes that it will earn between $2.85 and $2.95 per share, which is up $0.05 per share from its previous guidance to investors. It repeated its call for revenue gains of roughly 10%, and it sees a healthy commercial construction market in 2017 and 2018 that should help Apogee's long-term prospects as well.

Apogee investors responded favorably to the report, sending the stock up between 2% and 3% in pre-market trading Thursday morning following the Wednesday afternoon report. Investors are more confident than ever in the potential of the U.S. construction market, and Apogee remains well positioned to take maximum advantage of opportunities in that industry both in the immediate future and for years to come.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Apogee Enterprises. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.