Earnings Roundup: Lawson Products, Snap-On & Lincoln Electric

We're in another quarterly earnings report season, with many well-known industrial distributors and manufacturers sharing their latest fiscal results.

Here's how the most recent quarter fared for Lawson Products, Lincoln Electric and Snap-on:

Lawson Products

Chicago-based MRO products distributor Lawson Products — No. 38 on ID's Big 50 List — reported its Q1 results on Thursday, led by a solid year-over-year sales increase.

The company posted Q1 sales of $74.6 million, up 7.0 percent from a year earlier. That follows a 3.6 sales increase in Q4 2016, showing considerable improvement from a flat Q3 and a decline in Q2. Lawson said sales rep productivity improved by 2.6 percent year-over-year, and by 5.7 percent from Q4.

Total organic sales increased 5.0 percent year-over-year.

"Combined with the improving MRO marketplace, we are now beginning to see the results of the hard work our team has done over the past few years to grow our sales force, improve sales rep productivity, integrate acquisitions and to become more efficient through our extended Lean Six-Sigma process," said Lawson CEO Michael DeCata. "We are taking deliberate actions to improve sales rep productivity which will foster continued growth. With a stronger industrial economy and the previously announced closure of the Fairfield distribution center in the first quarter, it is clear that our continuing operations are well positioned to further leverage our operating costs."

Lawson's Q1 total profit of $0.9 million was flat year-over-year, while operating profit of $0.7 million was down from $1.2 million a year earlier. The company's gross profit of 60.1 percent declined from 60.9 percent a year earlier, and down slightly from 60.2 percent in Q4. Lawson said the decline was primarily driven by higher sales to strategic customers that typically have lower margins, the impact of 2016 acquisitions and non-recurring labor and freight costs associated with the Fairfield DC closure.

Lawson took a net loss of $4.6 million in Q4, following profit of $1.8 million in Q3, $0.2 million in Q2 and $1.0 million in Q1. Lawson had a net loss of $3.7 million in Q4 2015. Q4's gross profit of $40.5 million was up 3.6 percent year-over-year, while an operating loss of $5 million was up from a $3 million loss a year earlier. Lawson's Q4 operating expenses rose 8.2 percent year-over-year.


Fresh off hosting president Donald Trump at its Kenosha, WI headquarters on Tuesday, industrial tool and equipment maker Snap-on reported its Q1 results on Thursday. The company posted posted sales of $887.1 million, up 6.3 percent year-over-year. Organic sales increased 4.1 percent.

Total profit of $141.6 million increased 10.4 percent year-over-year to $141.6 million, while operating profit of $169.5 million increased 9.1 percent.

“We’re encouraged by our first quarter results,” said Snap-on chairman and CEO Nick Pinchuk. "We believe these results once again confirm Snap-on’s unique capabilities in providing valued productivity solutions to a growing range of professional customers performing critical tasks in workplaces of consequence."

Lincon Electric

Cleveland, OH-based Welding products supplier Lincoln Electric reported its Q1 results on Tuesday, led by a 5.5 percent increase in year-over-year sales to $581 million. Profit of $55.8 million increased 4.1 percent, while operating profit of $81.5 million increased 8.2 percent.

"We achieved a solid start to the year on improving demand, favorable prior year comparisons and higher profitability across all of our segments," stated Lincoln Electric chairman, president and CEO Christopher Mapes. "As markets continue to recover in 2017, we are advancing our '2020 Strategy' with exciting product launches and an active M&A pipeline with the proposed acquisition of Air Liquide Welding. We expect these investments will enhance our portfolio of solutions and provide us with a stronger, broader organization to serve our global customers."

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