Toro 4Q Profit Surges on Higher Sales

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Toro (NYSE:TTC) reported Tuesday a stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter profit, closing a year ago loss, on climbing demand by both professional and residential users.

The Bloomington, Minn-based company posted net earnings of $3.2 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with a loss of $500,000, or 2 cents a share, in the same quarter last year, beating the Street’s view of 5 cents.

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Revenue for the maker of turf maintenance equipment and precision irrigation systems was $337.3 million, up from $288.6 million a year ago, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $329.3 million.

For the year, Toro reported a 48% improvement in earnings to $93.2 million, or $2.79 a share, led by a 12.4% improvement in professional segment sales and a 10.7% gain in residential sales.

“For Toro, it was a year marked by many successes and a return to change in the right direction,” said Toro CEO Michael J. Hoffman. “Investments we made during the downturn, along with renewed strength in our end markets, particularly worldwide golf and landscape contractor, have our revenues and profits growing once again.”

In an effort to meet climbing demand in the region, the company said it is moving forward with a new manufacturing plant in Eastern Europe.

“The move will put Toro closer to this growing market as micro irrigation becomes both a larger part of our business and of irrigated agriculture around the world due to its more efficient use of water,” Hoffman said.

Looking ahead, Toro said it is encouraged with the improving health of its business and prospects for the future, anticipating earnings of $3.20 a share on a revenue increase of 5%.

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