Internal growth represented all of the company's sales increase for the year, the distributorship pointed out.
"We concluded the 2005 fourth quarter and year with solid earnings growth and a series of significant accomplishments," commented Bob Sledd, chairman and ceo.
Sledd said broadline sales were satisfactory for the quarter as well as the year. While sales actually grew 5% and 12% for the quarter and year, Sledd noted that the company planned for more profitable growth as the company focused on growing street sales.
"We lapped a major multi-unit customer added in late 2004 and are exiting certain lower margin multi-unit business in the fourth quarter and first quarter of 2006. Inflation amounted to approximately 2% in the quarter and year. For the full year, street sales increased approximately 5% over the previous year. We began to build momentum in our street sales growth in the fourth quarter and we expect it to continue over the course of 2006. We will also continue to maintain our focus on operational excellence initiatives," Sledd said.
Sledd added that customized division sales increased 9% during the fourth quarter and full year compared with the same periods in the previous year.
"The customized segment experienced slight deflation in the fourth quarter and approximately 1% inflation for the full year. Sales gains in the fourth quarter and year were driven by continued growth with existing customers. We completed our customized capacity expansion in 2005, which we believe positions us favorably for potential new business in 2006. Our new capacity also enables us to more efficiently serve our customers by transferring existing business into new facilities and reducing driving miles, offsetting some of the cost associated with the new facilities," he said.
According to the company, inflation for 2005 amounted to approximately 1.5%. Net earnings from continuing operations for the year increased approximately 57% to $41.8 million compared with $26.6 million in the prior year and net earnings per share from continuing operations increased approximately 70% to $0.95 per share diluted, compared to $0.56 per share diluted in the prior year. Excluding the impact of the Company's redemption of its convertible notes in 2004, the Company's net earnings from continuing operations for the 2005 year increased approximately 27% compared to the prior year, with earnings per share increasing approximately 38%.
Sledd observed, "Our balance sheet remains exceptionally strong with a debt to capital ratio of less than 1% at the end of the fourth quarter, excluding $130 million of interests in accounts receivable sold under an accounts receivable purchase facility. For the 2006 year, we expect net earnings per share to be in the range of $1.20 to $1.30 per share diluted, which reflects our anticipated stock compensation expense for the year of approximately $5.0 to $5.5 million, or approximately $0.09 to $0.10 per share, and the completion of our previously announced program to repurchase up to $100 million of our outstanding common stock. Excluding the impact of stock compensation expense of approximately $0.09 to $0.10, our earnings per share projection for the year is approximately $1.29 to $1.40 per share diluted."