A. Schulman Reports Improved Fiscal 2010 First-Quarter Results

Jan 06, 2010, 16:15 ET from A. Schulman, Inc.

AKRON, Ohio, Jan. 6 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ --

  • Reported net income of $17.0 million for the quarter compared favorably with $8.2 million in last year's first quarter; net income of $19.7 million excluding unusual items
  • Gross margin reaches 17.4% for the quarter compared with 10.8% for the prior-year quarter
  • North America earns $2.9 million compared with a loss of $2.3 million for last year's first quarter
  • Cash on hand increases to $237 million

A. Schulman, Inc. (Nasdaq-GS: SHLM) announced today strong earnings for the fiscal 2010 first quarter ended November 30, 2009, compared with the first quarter of fiscal 2009. Reported net income for the first quarter was $17.0 million or $0.65 per diluted share, compared with net income of $8.2 million or $0.31 per diluted share for the comparable period last year. The translation effect of foreign currencies increased net income by $0.8 million in the quarter.

The fiscal 2010 first quarter included after-tax unusual charges of approximately $2.7 million primarily related to the Company's recently announced proposed acquisition of ICO, Inc. (Nasdaq: ICOC). Last year's first quarter included after-tax unusual charges of $0.5 million related to restructuring activities. Excluding these unusual charges, net income for the fiscal 2010 first quarter was $19.7 million, or $0.76 per diluted share, compared with $8.7 million, or $0.33 per diluted share, for the prior-year period.

Net sales for the fiscal 2010 first quarter were $362.9 million, a 6.6% decline compared with $388.3 million last year. Tonnage declined 4.5% for the quarter, which reflected the continuation of weak end markets, the Company's actions to reduce capacity and the ongoing efforts of the Company's North American Engineered Plastics segment to move away from low-margin business. The translation effect of foreign currency, primarily the euro, increased sales by 3.0%; however, lower market resin prices and mix negatively impacted sales by 5.1% for the quarter.

Gross margin for the quarter was 17.4% of net sales, an increase of 660 basis points from 10.8% for the first quarter of last year. The fiscal 2010 first quarter's margin increased 110 basis points compared with the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter, which reflects the Company's continued efforts to drive margin improvements.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expense for the fiscal 2010 first quarter was $40.8 million, an increase of $6.0 million compared with $34.8 million in last year's first quarter. Foreign exchange increased SG&A by $1.6 million. Additionally, the Company recorded $2.3 million of ICO-related acquisition costs in the first quarter of fiscal 2010. The remaining $2.1 million increase was primarily related to bad debt expense, increased incentive compensation and less favorable mark-to-market equity compensation adjustments in the first quarter of fiscal 2010.

Additionally, the Company's liquidity position remained strong with cash increasing to $237.0 million at the end of the quarter, compared with $228.7 million at the end of the fiscal 2009 fourth quarter.

"We are extremely pleased to report such strong profitability, especially the contribution to profit in North America where we have seen a much anticipated improvement in gross margins," said Joseph M. Gingo, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "Our cost-reduction initiatives, purchasing savings and mix improvements are positively impacting the Company's margins across the board. We also believe that, while overall volumes have not rebounded completely, we are experiencing a slow and steady recovery which is also contributing to our strong results."

Europe - In the fiscal 2010 first quarter, sales in Europe were $271.9 million, a decrease of $8.9 million or 3.2% compared with the prior-year period. Tonnage for the quarter decreased 2.9%; the translation effect of foreign currency, primarily the euro, increased sales by 5.3%; and changes in prices and product mix decreased sales by 5.6%. The price decline was related to significant declines in resin prices.

Gross margin improved to 18.6% of sales for the quarter compared with 12.2% for the same period last year. The improved gross margin was driven by mix, both by business and product lines, and the realization of cost-reduction initiatives. The prior year's quarter, which was severely impacted by the financial downturn, also included a charge of $3.0 million for lower of cost or market inventory adjustments. Operating income for the fiscal 2010 first quarter was $25.2 million compared with $14.0 million in the same quarter last year. Foreign exchange accounted for $1.4 million of the increase.

North America - North America earned a combined $2.9 million during the quarter, an impressive turnaround of $5.2 million from last year's first-quarter loss of $2.3 million. Although volume was down 17.8% from the fiscal 2009 first quarter, reflecting the Company's efforts to eliminate low-margin capacity and the continued effect of weak economic conditions, gross margin increased to 13.0% of sales from 7.0% of sales for the prior-year period. A year-over-year reduction of $2.1 million in SG&A also contributed to the profit increase.

Asia - Sales were up almost 60% for the quarter compared with the same period last year as tonnage almost doubled. Gross margin increased to 18.3% of sales compared with 7.8% for the prior-year period. The increase in gross margin reflects a favorable product mix; results of the Company's continuous efforts to reduce higher-cost inventories; and a much more optimal capacity utilization of 86%. Operating income was $1.1 million compared with an operating loss of $0.1 million for the prior-year quarter, continuing the positive trend that began during the third quarter of 2009.

"While we are pleased to see our strategy pay off in North America's return to profitability, we are also experiencing a recovery in Europe despite volumes that are essentially flat compared with a year ago," Gingo said. "We continue to see strong improvement in Asia as a result of our increased focus on our growth strategy for that region."

Cash Flow From Operations and Working Capital

Cash flow from operations was $7.2 million for the quarter, compared with $44.3 million during the same period last year. Total days of working capital increased two days from August 31, 2009, to 62 days at the end of the fiscal 2010 first quarter, but compared favorably to the 72 days the Company reported one year ago at November 30, 2008. The Company's net debt, defined as total debt less cash and cash equivalents, was in a net positive cash position of $128.9 million, a modest improvement over the $123.9 million reported at the end of August 2009.

Update on Proposed Acquisition

As previously announced on December 2, 2009, the Company signed a definitive agreement to acquire all of the outstanding stock of ICO, Inc. (Nasdaq-GS: ICOC) pending approval of the transaction by ICO, Inc. stockholders and receipt of customary regulatory approvals. Under the terms of the agreement, the total consideration to be paid is comprised of $105.0 million in cash and 5.1 million shares of A. Schulman common stock. The merger agreement was filed as an exhibit to the Company's Form 8-K dated December 3, 2009. After the merger closes, ICO, Inc. stockholders will own approximately 16% of the combined company. The transaction is not subject to a financing contingency. A. Schulman intends to pay the cash portion of the purchase price out of its available liquidity. The transaction is expected to close during the Company's fiscal 2010 third quarter ending May 31, 2010.

Business Outlook

"We hope the improvement we saw across all of our business lines in the first quarter, and especially in our Engineered Plastics segment which globally outperformed our expectations, is an indicator of sustainable growth to come," Gingo said. "While it is likely that at least some of our first-quarter improvement was due to a bubble effect as a result of the global auto incentive programs, we believe it also was a direct result of our ongoing efforts to improve our product mix, attract new customers and reduce our manufacturing costs.

"Since the first quarter is typically stronger due to seasonal effects and because the effect of incentive programs may subside, we expect a sequential decline for the second quarter. Nevertheless, the Company expects that net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2010 will be significantly better than the prior-year period, which represented the worst months of the recession from our perspective.

"For fiscal 2010, we will continue to focus on cash flow. Despite a slight increase in working capital, we have maintained our enviable cash position and performance-driven processes that will help us meet demand and execute on our strategies."

Conference Call on the Web

A live Internet broadcast of A. Schulman's conference call regarding fiscal 2010 first-quarter earnings can be accessed at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time on Friday, January 8, 2010, on the Company's website, www.aschulman.com. An archived replay of the call will also be available on the website.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

This earnings release includes the use of both GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) and non-GAAP financial measures. The non-GAAP financial measures are net income excluding unusual items and net income per diluted share excluding unusual items. The most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are net income and net income per diluted share. A table included in this news release reconciles each non-GAAP financial measure with the most directly comparable GAAP financial measure.

A. Schulman uses these financial measures to monitor and evaluate the ongoing performance of the Company and to allocate resources, and believes that the additional non-GAAP measures are useful to investors for financial analysis. In addition, the Company believes that providing this information is in the best interest of our investors so that they can accurately consider the non-GAAP financial information. However, non-GAAP measures are not in accordance with, nor are they a substitute for, GAAP measures.

While management believes that these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful supplemental information to investors, there are limitations associated with the use of these measures. These non-GAAP financial measures are not prepared in accordance with GAAP, may not be reported by all of the Company's competitors and may not be directly comparable to similarly titled measures of the Company's competitors due to potential differences in the exact method of calculation. The Company compensates for these limitations by using these non-GAAP financial measures as supplements to GAAP financial measures and by reviewing the reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures to their most comparable GAAP financial measures.

The Company's non-GAAP financial measures are not meant to be considered in isolation or as a substitute for comparable GAAP financial measures, and should be read only in conjunction with the Company's consolidated financial statements prepared in accordance with GAAP.

About A. Schulman, Inc.

Headquartered in Akron, Ohio, A. Schulman is a leading international supplier of high-performance plastic compounds and resins. These materials are used in a variety of consumer, industrial, automotive and packaging applications. The Company employs about 2,000 people and has 16 manufacturing facilities in North America, Europe and Asia. Revenues for the fiscal year ended August 31, 2009, were $1.3 billion. Additional information about A. Schulman can be found at www.aschulman.com.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995

A number of the matters discussed in this release that are not historical or current facts deal with potential future circumstances and developments, in particular, information regarding expected synergies resulting from the merger of Schulman and ICO, combined operating and financial data, the combined company's plans, objectives, expectations and intentions and whether and when the transactions contemplated by the merger agreement will be consummated. The discussion of such matters is qualified by the inherent risks and uncertainties surrounding future expectations generally, and also may materially differ from actual future experience involving any one or more of such matters. Such risks and uncertainties include: the risk that the businesses will not be integrated successfully; the risk that the cost savings and any other synergies from the transaction may not be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected; restrictions imposed by outstanding indebtedness; fluctuations in the prices of sources of energy or resins and other raw materials; worldwide and regional economic, business, and political conditions, including continuing economic uncertainties in some or all major product markets; changes in customer demand and requirements; business cycles and other industry conditions; the timing of new services or facilities; ability to compete; effects of compliance with laws; fluctuations in the value of currencies in major areas where operations are located, including the U.S. dollar, Euro, U.K. pound sterling, Canadian dollar, Mexican peso, Chinese yuan, and Indonesian rupiah; matters relating to operating facilities; effect and costs of claims (known or unknown) relating to litigation and environmental remediation; ability to manage global inventory; ability to develop technology and proprietary know-how; ability to attract and retain key personnel; escalation in the cost of providing employee health care; performance of the global automotive market; disruption from the transaction making it more difficult to maintain relationships with customers, employees or suppliers; the failure to obtain governmental approvals of the transaction on the proposed terms and schedule, and any conditions imposed on the combined company in connection with consummation of the merger; the failure to obtain approval of the merger by the stockholders of ICO and the failure to satisfy various other conditions to the closing of the merger contemplated by the merger agreement; and the risks that are described from time to time in Schulman's and ICO's respective reports filed with the SEC, including Schulman's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended August 31, 2009 and ICO's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2008 and quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended June 30, 2009, in each case, as such reports may have been amended. This release speaks only as of its date, and Schulman and ICO each disclaims any duty to update the information herein.

Additional Information and Where to Find It

In connection with the proposed transaction, a registration statement on Form S-4 will be filed with the SEC. ICO SHAREHOLDERS ARE ENCOURAGED TO READ THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT AND ANY OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS FILED WITH THE SEC, INCLUDING THE PROXY STATEMENT/PROSPECTUS THAT WILL BE PART OF THE REGISTRATION STATEMENT, WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE, BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT THE PROPOSED MERGER. The final proxy statement/prospectus will be mailed to shareholders of ICO. Investors and security holders will be able to obtain the documents free of charge at the SEC's web site, www.sec.gov, from A. Schulman, Inc. at its web site, www.aschulman.com, or from ICO, Inc. at its web site, www.icopolymers.com, or 1811 Bering Drive, Suite 200, Houston, Texas, 77057, attention: Corporate Secretary.

Participants In Solicitation

Schulman and ICO and their respective directors and executive officers and other members of management and employees may be deemed to be participants in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the proposed merger. Information concerning Schulman's participants is set forth in the proxy statement, dated November 6, 2009, for Schulman's 2009 annual meeting of stockholders as filed with the SEC on Schedule 14A. Information concerning ICO's participants is set forth in the proxy statement, dated January 23, 2009, for ICO's 2009 annual meeting of shareholders as filed with the SEC on Schedule 14A. Additional information regarding the interests of participants of Schulman and ICO in the solicitation of proxies in respect of the proposed merger will be included in the registration statement and proxy statement/prospectus and other relevant materials to be filed with the SEC when they become available.

                              A. SCHULMAN, INC.

                                        Three months ended November 30,
                                        2009                      2008
                                        ----                      ----
                               (In thousands except share and per share data)

    Net sales                        $362,861                 $388,317
    Cost of sales                     299,703                  346,316
    Selling, general
     and administrative
     expenses                          40,752                   34,795
    Interest expense                    1,054                    1,250
    Interest income                      (253)                    (849)
    Foreign currency transaction
     (gains) losses                       103                   (7,306)
    Other (income) expense             (1,177)                    (222)
     Restructuring expense                429                      601
                                          ---                      ---
                                      340,611                  374,585
                                      -------                  -------
    Income from continuing
     operations before taxes           22,250                   13,732
    Provision for U.S. and foreign
     income taxes                       5,112                    4,335
                                        -----                    -----
    Income from continuing
     operations                        17,138                    9,397
    Loss from discontinued
     operations, net of tax of $0          (3)                  (1,067)
                                       ------                   ------
    Net income                         17,135                    8,330
    Noncontrolling interests             (102)                    (158)
                                       ------                   ------
    Net income attributable
     to A. Schulman, Inc.              17,033                    8,172
    Preferred stock dividends               -                      (13)
                                       ------                    -----
    Net income attributable
     to A. Schulman, Inc.
     common stockholders              $17,033                   $8,159
                                      =======                   ======

    Weighted-average number
     of shares outstanding:
      Basic                            25,843                   25,808
      Diluted                          26,056                   26,026

    Earnings (losses) per
     share of common stock
     attributable to
      A. Schulman, Inc. - Basic:
       Income from continuing
        operations                     $0.66                     $0.36
       Loss from discontinued
        operations                         -                     (0.04)
                                       -----                     -----
       Net income attributable
        to common stockholders         $0.66                     $0.32
                                       =====                     =====

    Earnings (losses) per
     share of common stock
     attributable to
      A. Schulman, Inc. - Diluted:
       Income from continuing
        operations                    $0.65                      $0.35
      Loss from discontinued
       operations                        -                       (0.04)
                                      ----                       -----
      Net income attributable
       to common stockholders         $0.65                      $0.31
                                      =====                      =====

                                   A. SCHULMAN, INC.
                              CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

                              November 30, 2009            August 31, 2009
                              -----------------            ---------------
                  ASSETS             (In thousands except share data)
    Current assets:
    Cash and cash equivalents           $237,021                   $228,674
    Accounts receivable, less
     allowance for doubtful accounts
     of $11,473 at November 30, 2009
     and $10,279 at August 31, 2009      229,319                    206,450
    Inventories, average cost or
     market, whichever is lower          164,568                    133,536
    Prepaid expenses and other
     current assets                       20,742                     20,779
                                          ------                     ------
         Total current assets            651,650                    589,439
                                         -------                    -------

    Other assets:
    Cash surrender value of life
     insurance                             3,098                      3,101
    Deferred charges and other assets     23,961                     23,715
    Goodwill                              11,913                     11,577
    Intangible assets                        265                        217
                                             ---                        ---
                                          39,237                     38,610
                                          ------                     ------

    Property, plant and equipment, at
    Land and improvements                 16,656                     16,236
    Buildings and leasehold
     improvements                        151,782                    147,121
    Machinery and equipment              356,954                    345,653
    Furniture and fixtures                41,182                     39,581
    Construction in progress               5,366                      4,546
                                           -----                      -----
                                         571,940                    553,137
    Accumulated depreciation and
     investment grants of $990 at
     November 30, 2009 and $988 at
     August 31, 2009                     400,117                    383,697
                                         -------                    -------
         Net property, plant and
          equipment                      171,823                    169,440
                                         -------                    -------
    Total assets                        $862,710                   $797,489
                                        ========                   ========


    Current liabilities:
    Notes payable                         $2,520                     $2,519
    Accounts payable                     170,370                    147,476
    U.S. and foreign income taxes
     payable                              11,547                      8,858
    Accrued payrolls, taxes and
     related benefits                     37,017                     36,207
    Other accrued liabilities             38,257                     32,562
                                          ------                     ------
         Total current
          liabilities                    259,711                    227,622
                                         -------                    -------

    Long-term debt                       105,651                    102,254
    Other long-term liabilities           95,360                     92,688
    Deferred income taxes                  4,401                      3,954
    Commitments and contingencies              -                          -
    Stockholders' equity:
    Preferred stock, 5% cumulative,
     $100 par value, authorized, issued
     and outstanding - 15 shares at
     November 30, 2009 and August 31,
     2009                                      2                          2
    Common stock, $1 par value,
     authorized - 75,000,000 shares,
     issued - 42,309,363 shares
     at November 30, 2009 and
     42,295,492 shares at August 31,
     2009                                 42,309                     42,295
    Other capital                        115,952                    115,358
    Accumulated other comprehensive
     income                               51,545                     38,714
    Retained earnings                    505,588                    492,513
    Treasury stock, at cost, 16,207,011
     shares at November 30, 2009
     and August 31, 2009                (322,812)                  (322,812)
                                        --------                   --------
    Total A. Schulman, Inc.
     stockholders' equity                392,584                    366,070
    Noncontrolling interests               5,003                      4,901
                                           -----                      -----
    Total equity                         397,587                    370,971
                                         -------                    -------
    Total liabilities
     and equity                         $862,710                   $797,489
                                        ========                   ========

                                 A. SCHULMAN, INC.

                                              Three months ended November 30,
                                           2009                         2008
                                           ----                         ----
    Provided from (used in) operating
     activities:                                      (In thousands)
     Net income                          $17,135                      $8,330
     Adjustments to reconcile
      net income to net cash
      provided from (used
      in) operating
      Depreciation and
       amortization                        5,750                       5,871
      Deferred tax provision              (1,262)                        683
      Pension and other
       deferred compensation                 594                      (1,252)
       obligation                            (22)                        (48)
      Net gains on
       asset sales                           (39)                       (152)
     Changes in assets
      and liabilities:
      Accounts receivable                (15,467)                     34,926
      Inventories                        (25,945)                     17,224
      Accounts payable                    17,617                     (15,658)
      Restructuring accrual                 (316)                        149
      Income taxes                         2,755                      (2,711)
      Accrued payrolls and
       other accrued
       liabilities                         4,908                        (677)
      Changes in other assets
       and other long-term
       liabilities                         1,503                      (2,416)
                                           -----                      ------
         Net cash provided from
          operating activities             7,211                      44,269
                                           -----                      ------
    Provided from (used in) investing
     Expenditures for property, plant
      and equipment                       (4,367)                    (11,294)
     Proceeds from the
      sale of assets                         435                         213
                                           -----                       -----
          Net cash used in
           investing activities           (3,932)                    (11,081)
                                          ------                     -------
    Provided from (used in) financing
     Cash dividends paid                  (3,958)                     (3,951)
     Increase (decrease) in
      notes payable                          (33)                         12
     Borrowings on revolving
      credit facilities                        -                      15,000
      Repayments on revolving
       credit facilities                       -                     (10,000)
      Common stock issued, net               (50)                         65
      Purchases of treasury stock              -                      (1,217)
                                             ---                      ------
          Net cash used in financing
           activities                     (4,041)                        (91)
                                          ------                         ---
    Effect of exchange rate changes on
     cash                                  9,109                     (15,062)
                                           -----                     -------
    Net increase (decrease) in cash
     and cash equivalents                  8,347                      18,035
                                           -----                      ------
    Cash and cash equivalents at
     beginning of period                 228,674                      97,728
                                         -------                      ------
    Cash and cash equivalents at end
     of period                          $237,021                    $115,763
                                        ========                    ========

                                     Three months ended November 30,
                                              2009                    2008
                                              ----                    ----
                                       (In thousands, except for %)
     Net sales to unaffiliated
     Europe                               $271,943                $280,847
     NAMB                                   27,835                  28,044
     NAEP                                   34,643                  44,268
     NADS                                   13,853                  25,971
     Asia                                   14,587                   9,187
                                            ------                   -----
          Total net sales to
           unaffiliated customers         $362,861                $388,317
                                          --------                --------

     Segment gross profit
     Europe                                $50,533                 $34,395
     NAMB                                    3,502                   2,290
     NAEP                                    4,695                   2,757
     NADS                                    1,764                   1,845
     Asia                                    2,664                     714
                                             -----                     ---
          Total segment gross profit       $63,158                 $42,001
                                           -------                 -------

     Segment operating income
     Europe                                $25,155                 $14,032
     NAMB                                    2,490                     692
     NAEP                                    2,172                    (926)
     NADS                                      879                     924
     Asia                                    1,114                    (147)
     All other North America                (2,670)                 (3,009)
                                            ------                  ------
          Total segment operating
           income                          $29,140                 $11,566

     Corporate and other                    (6,734)                 (4,360)
     Interest expense, net                    (801)                   (401)
     Foreign currency transaction
      gains (losses)                          (103)                  7,306
     Other income (expense)                  1,177                     222
     Restructuring expense                    (429)                   (601)
                                              ----                    ----
          Income from continuing
           operations before taxes         $22,250                 $13,732
                                           =======                 =======

     Capacity utilization
     Europe                                     96%                     73%
     NAMB                                       70%                     87%
     NAEP                                       81%                     89%
     Asia                                       86%                     45%
     Worldwide                                  91%                     74%

                                           A. SCHULMAN, INC.
                             Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
                           Net Income and Earnings Per Share Reconciliation

                       Three months ended             Three months ended
                        November 30, 2009              November 30, 2008
                       -------------------            -------------------
                         Income (loss)  Diluted      Income (loss)    Diluted
                                         EPS                           EPS
                                        Impact                        Impact
                       ------------------------      ------------------------
                                    (In thousands except per share data)
    Net income attributable
     to A. Schulman, Inc.
     common stockholders       $17,033       $0.65        $8,159        $0.31

    Adjustments, net of tax,
     per diluted share:
    Costs related to proposed
     acquisition                 2,266                        -
     Restructuring expense         299                      436

    Accelerated depreciation,
     included in cost of sales      48                        -
    Asset impairment                50                        -
    Other employee
     termination costs               -                      101
                                  ----        ----         ----          ----
    Net income attributable
     to A. Schulman, Inc.
     common stockholders
     before unusual items       $19,696      $0.76        $8,696        $0.33
                                =======      =====         ======       =====

     Weighted- average
     number of shares
     outstanding - Diluted                  26,056                     26,026

SOURCE A. Schulman, Inc.