Outdoor Power Equipment and Engine Service Association

Chicago Equity Partners LLC Purchases New Stake in Briggs & Stratton Co. (BGG)

Chicago Equity Partners LLC purchased a new stake in Briggs & Stratton Co. (NYSE:BGG) during the fourth quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor purchased 64,690 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,119,000. Chicago Equity Partners LLC owned 0.15% of Briggs & Stratton Co. at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently made changes to their positions in the company. 1st Global Advisors Inc. boosted its position in shares of Briggs & Stratton Co. by 47.3% in the fourth quarter. 1st Global Advisors Inc. now owns 21,896 shares of the company’s stock valued at $379,000 after buying an additional 7,030 shares in the last quarter. Alpha Windward boosted its position in shares of Briggs & Stratton Co. by 4.9% in the fourth quarter. Alpha Windward now owns 23,160 shares of the company’s stock valued at $401,000 after buying an additional 1,080 shares in the last quarter. DIAM Co. Ltd. purchased a new position in shares of Briggs & Stratton Co. during the fourth quarter valued at $611,000. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. boosted its position in shares of Briggs & Stratton Co. by 1.7% in the fourth quarter. Oppenheimer & Co. Inc. now owns 58,249 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,008,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Rhumbline Advisers boosted its position in shares of Briggs & Stratton Co. by 2.2% in the fourth quarter. Rhumbline Advisers now owns 73,546 shares of the company’s stock valued at $1,272,000 after buying an additional 1,580 shares in the last quarter.

Briggs & Stratton Co. (NYSE:BGG) traded up 3.5876% during trading on Thursday, hitting $24.4674. The company had a trading volume of 171,730 shares. The company has a market capitalization of $1.06 billion and a price-to-earnings ratio of 22.6131. Briggs & Stratton Co. has a 12-month low of $15.47 and a 12-month high of $24.48. The firm has a 50-day moving average of $21.38 and a 200 day moving average of $19.38.

Briggs & Stratton Co. (NYSE:BGG) last posted its earnings results on Wednesday, January 20th. The company reported $0.34 EPS for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $0.18 by $0.16. The company had revenue of $413 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $435.16 million. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $0.26 EPS. Briggs & Stratton Co.’s quarterly revenue was down 7.0% compared to the same quarter last year. On average, equities research analysts forecast that Briggs & Stratton Co. will post $1.40 earnings per share for the current year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Thursday, March 31st. Investors of record on Thursday, March 17th will be given a dividend of $0.135 per share. The ex-dividend date is Tuesday, March 15th. This represents a $0.54 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 2.29%.

Several brokerages recently weighed in on BGG. Zacks Investment Research raised Briggs & Stratton Co. from a “hold” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $22.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, January 25th. TheStreet raised Briggs & Stratton Co. from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Friday, February 12th. Northcoast Research cut Briggs & Stratton Co. from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Friday, March 11th. Finally, Raymond James raised Briggs & Stratton Co. from a “market perform” rating to a “strong-buy” rating and set a $24.00 target price for the company in a research note on Tuesday, March 1st.

In related news, VP David J. Rodgers sold 7,835 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, February 16th. The stock was sold at an average price of $20.99, for a total transaction of $164,456.65. Following the completion of the transaction, the vice president now owns 80,678 shares in the company, valued at approximately $1,693,431.22. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, SVP William H. Reitman sold 6,107 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Tuesday, January 26th. The stock was sold at an average price of $19.47, for a total value of $118,903.29. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now owns 59,214 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,152,896.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here.

Briggs & Stratton Corporation is a producer of air cooled gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. The Company designs, manufactures, markets and services these products for original equipment manufacturers (NYSE:BGG) worldwide.

American Securities and P2 Capital Partners Complete Acquisition of Blount

PORTLAND, Ore. and NEW YORK, April 12, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Blount International, Inc. (NYSE:BLT) (“Blount” or “Company”) announced the completion of its acquisition by affiliates of American Securities LLC and P2 Capital Partners, LLC. Under the terms of the merger agreement, Blount stockholders are entitled to receive $10.00 per share in cash, without interest and less any applicable tax withholding.

“As a private company, Blount will have greater flexibility to pursue new opportunities to better serve its global customer base across the Forestry, Lawn, and Garden (“FLAG”) and Farm, Ranch, and Agriculture (“FRAG”) markets,” said Loren Easton, Managing Director at American Securities. “We look forward to providing the strategic and financial support to enable Blount to achieve this next phase of growth.”

“We have long admired Blount’s talented team members and its track record of market leadership and innovation,” said Josh Paulson, Partner at P2 Capital Partners. “We are excited to work alongside management and American Securities to help the Company execute its strategic plan and continue delivering the high-quality products that are its hallmarks.”

The transaction was announced on December 10, 2015 and received approval from Blount stockholders on April 7, 2016. Josh Collins will remain the Company’s Chief Executive Officer and David Willmott will continue to serve as President and Chief Operating Officer. The Company intends to maintain its corporate headquarters in Portland, Oregon and its existing global distribution and sales footprints.

As a result of the completion of the acquisition, shares of Blount common stock were removed from listing on the New York Stock Exchange, with trading in Blount shares suspended prior to the opening of business today.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

“Forward-looking statements” in this release, including without limitation statements regarding the transaction and the Company’s “outlook,” “expectations,” “beliefs,” “plans,” “indications,” “estimates,” “anticipations,” “guidance” and their variants, as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, are based upon available information and upon assumptions that the Company believes are reasonable; however, these forward-looking statements involve certain risks and should not be considered indicative of actual results that the Company may achieve in the future. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results or events to differ materially from those indicated by such forward-looking statements, in particular, among other things, the potential impact of the announcement or consummation of the transaction on relationships, including with employees, suppliers and customers; litigation relating to the transaction; and the other factors and financial, operational and legal risks or uncertainties described in the Company’s public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including the “Risk Factors” and “Forward Looking Statements” sections of the Company’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2015 and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q.  The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements as a result of developments occurring after the date of this document except as required by law.

About Blount International

Blount is a global manufacturer and marketer of replacement parts, equipment, and accessories for consumers and professionals operating primarily in two market segments: Forestry, Lawn, and Garden (“FLAG”); and Farm, Ranch, and Agriculture (“FRAG”). Blount also sells products in the construction markets and is the market leader in manufacturing saw chain and guide bars for chain saws.  Blount has a global manufacturing and distribution footprint and sells its products in more than 110 countries around the world.  Blount markets its products primarily under the OREGON®, Carlton®, Woods®, TISCO, SpeeCo®, ICS® and Pentruder® brands. For more information about Blount, please visit our website at http://www.blount.com.

About American Securities

American Securities is a leading U.S. private equity firm with approximately $15 billion under management. Based in New York with an office in Shanghai, American Securities invests in market-leading North American companies with annual revenues generally ranging from $200 million to $2 billion and/or EBITDA of $50 million to $200 million. For more information, please visit http://www.american-securities.com.

About P2 Capital Partners

P2 Capital Partners is a New York-based investment firm that applies a private equity approach to investing in the public market. P2 manages a concentrated portfolio of significant ownership stakes in high quality public companies in which it is an active shareholder focused on creating long-term value in partnership with management. The firm will also lead private equity transactions within its public portfolio. P2’s limited partners include leading public pension funds, corporate pension funds, endowments, foundations, insurance companies, and high net worth investors.

Wells Fargo Completes Acquisition of GE Capital’s North American Commercial Distribution Finance and Vendor Finance Businesses

SAN FRANCISCO, March 1, 2016 – Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) announced that it has completed the purchase of the North American portions of GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance and Vendor Finance businesses as well as a portion of its Corporate Finance business, totaling $27.4 billion of assets, including approximately $24 billion of loans. The remaining international segment of the transaction is expected to close later this year. The total acquisition includes assets of approximately $31 billion as well as businesses employing approximately 2,800 team members.

“The completion of this transaction strengthens our capabilities and deepens our customer relationships in key commercial lending markets across the U.S. and Canada,” said Tim Sloan, Wells Fargo’s president and chief operating officer. “The businesses acquired from GE Capital are industry leaders with proven business models and capabilities. As a result of this acquisition, we are adding a set of complementary businesses, long-term customer relationships and exceptionally talented and experienced teams that position Wells Fargo as a market leader in these important product areas.”

As previously announced, the businesses acquired from GE Capital include:

Commercial Distribution Finance

GE Capital’s Commercial Distribution Finance (CDF) business is a market leader in providing customized inventory financing to fund the flow of finished durable goods from manufacturers to dealers.  Through industry expertise and integrated technologies, CDF helps manufacturers and dealers across the U.S. and Canada improve cash flow, reduce risk and grow sales. CDF’s inventory finance products and deep customer relationships greatly complement and expand the existing asset-based lending product offerings in Wells Fargo’s Capital Finance division. Effective March 1, Commercial Distribution Finance will adopt the tradename Wells Fargo Commercial Distribution Finance.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.8 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through 8,700 locations, 13,000 ATMs, the internet (wellsfargo.com) and mobile banking, and has offices in 36 countries to support customers who conduct business in the global economy. With approximately 265,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in the United States. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 30 on Fortune’s 2015 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially. Wells Fargo perspectives are also available at Wells Fargo Blogs and Wells Fargo Stories.

Generac Closes on the Acquisition of the Majority Share of PR Industrial

WAUKESHA, Wis.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Mar. 1, 2016– Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE: GNRC) (“Generac”), a leading designer and manufacturer of power generation equipment and other engine powered products, announced the closing of an agreement to acquire a majority share of PR Industrial S.r.l and its subsidiaries, owner of the Pramac® brand (collectively Pramac). As previously disclosed in a press release dated February 15, 2016, Pramac is a leading manufacturer of stationary and mobile generators for a variety of commercial and industrial applications primarily sold under the Pramac® brand, as well as portable generators used for numerous residential, light construction and recreational purposes. The company also has a line of material handling equipment sold under the Lifter® brand. Selling into over 150 countries through a broad distribution network, Pramac employs over 600 people across its four manufacturing plants and 14 commercial branches worldwide.

About Generac (NYSE: GNRC)

Since 1959, Generac has been a leading designer and manufacturer of a wide range of power generation equipment and other engine powered products. As a leader in power equipment serving residential, light commercial, industrial, oil & gas, and construction markets, Generac’s power products are available globally through a broad network of independent dealers, distributors, retailers, wholesalers and equipment rental companies, as well as sold direct to certain end user customers.

About Pramac

Pramac, established in 1966 by the Campinoti family, produces and sells power generation systems and material handling equipment primarily under the Pramac® and Lifter® brands. The company, which is headquartered in Siena, Italy, has a full range of stationary, mobile and portable power generation equipment up to 3,360 kVA that are sold through a broad distribution network across the world. For more information, go to www.Pramac.com.

SOURCE: Generac Holdings Inc.

STIHL Completes Multi-Million Investment for Continued Success

WAIBLINGEN, Germany – STIHL inaugurated its latest investments in Germany on March 4, 2016 – an extension to the engineering center and a new production logistics building in Waiblingen-Neustadt. German Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel said in a special video message for the inauguration ceremony, “By extending your engineering center you are sending out a strong signal. You want to continue being a leader in the competition for better products that keep what they promise.”

Baden-Wuerttemberg‘s Minister President Winfried Kretschmann praised the company in his speech: “The fact that STIHL has invested here in Waiblingen is an encouraging sign for the people in the Stuttgart region as well as the economy in general and the political landscape. A Baden-Wuerttemberg model enterprise with a long tradition thus clearly demonstrates its commitment to its roots. These multi-million investments not only continue the company’s success story well into the future, they will also stimulate other firms to build up their industrial production in Baden-Wuerttemberg.”

The total investment for the new buildings, including the necessary infrastructure and equipment amounts to some 90 million euros (more than 99 million USD). The family-owned business, which celebrates its 90th anniversary this year, shows once again its dedication to the founding company in Waiblingen. STIHL advisory and supervisory board chairman Dr. Nikolas Stihl said in his official welcoming address, “Today, we are celebrating an investment in consolidating our core competencies. Our ability to innovate and the quality of our products set us apart. In its 90-year history, STIHL has written engineering history over and over again. In the future we will continue to put our faith in the creativeness of our staff at our corporate headquarters.”

STIHL executive board chairman Dr. Bertram Kandziora pointed out, “The two new buildings help strengthen STIHL product development and production in Germany. We are significantly expanding our development capacities for electronic systems and cordless products, and reducing production costs by utilizing automated logistics. With today’s inauguration we are charting the way for continuing the success of STIHL in the future.”

Competence Center for Cordless and Corded Electric Technology
Minister President Kretschmann was able to gain a good impression of the company’s latest developments on a tour of the engineering center. Wolfgang Zahn, STIHL executive board member responsible for product development, said, “The extended engineering center underscores the STIHL claim to technology leadership. We have given our research and development staff more space for their first-class work on innovative products.”

With the extension, in which emission-free and quiet cordless and corded electric power tools are to be developed, the company sets a further example of its innovative skills in the area of environment-friendly power tools for forestry and garden maintenance as well as agriculture and the construction industry. The building provides space for more than 300 workplaces. With approximately 12,600 square meters of floor space it will accommodate equipment rooms, laboratories, electric test bays, workshops, offices and a new staff dining hall. One of the power tools presented on the tour was the STIHL HSA 66 cordless hedge trimmer which is on a par with an equivalent gasoline model in terms of handling and performance, but has the bonus of being quiet and emission-free. Other tools demonstrated were the STIHL TS 500i cut-off machine with electronically controlled fuel injection and the STIHL MS 661 professional chain saw, the official competition saw for the STIHL® TIMBERSPORTS®.

Gains in Efficiency through New Production Logistics Facility
The new production logistics building is located right next to assembly and production at STIHL Plant 2 and has a total floor area of about 15,000 square meters. The heart of the facility are two automatic warehouses for containers and pallets. Supplies of material to product assembly will be highly automated by way of robotic systems, pallet handling and conveying technology as well as driverless transport systems. By transferring product logistics from its present location in Ludwigsburg to Waiblingen-Neustadt, STIHL increases efficiency, reduces truck movement and greatly simplifies logistics. This strengthens Germany as a production center.

About STIHL Inc.
STIHL Inc. manufactures the number one selling brand of gasoline-powered handheld outdoor power equipment in America,* as well as the number one selling brand of chain saws in the world. STIHL products are sold through servicing power equipment retailers from coast to coast – not mass merchants. Located in Virginia Beach, Va., STIHL Inc., the headquarters for U.S. operations for the worldwide STIHL Group, exports to over 90 countries around the world; and the majority of STIHL products sold in America are also built in America.* STIHL products sold through U.S. STIHL dealers are for distribution in the United States only. For more information or for the name of a local STIHL retailer, call toll free 1-800-GO STIHL (1-800-467-8445), visit stihlusa.com or text your zip code to 78445.

Facts on Public Perception of Ethanol in Dispute

Wednesday, April 13, 2016 | Chris Woodward (OneNewsNow.com)

A new poll has reignited the debate over ethanol mandates.

According to a Harris Poll conducted on behalf of American Petroleum Institute (API), 77 percent of registered voters – Republicans, Democrats, and Independents – are concerned about adding more ethanol into the fuel mix. “They’re concerned from a consumer standpoint, from their pocketbooks,” explains API downstream group director Frank Macchiarola.

Unless specified, most gas stations in the United States sell fuel containing a percentage of ethanol.

“They’re concerned that additional ethanol in the fuel mix can have a negative effect on the automobile warranty,” Macchiarola continues, “and they’re also concerned that increased ethanol in the fuel mix will raise the … price of corn and the price of food.”

But Bob Dinneen, president and CEO of Renewable Fuels Association, disagrees with the findings. “What API did is referred to as a push poll,” he says. “They give the person taking the poll lots of negative misinformation and then ask them the question – and these things were so biased.”

While some consumers and industry groups beg to differ, Dinneen says there are no concerns about warranties and food price increases. He adds that monthly polling from RFA finds a strong majority supports ethanol and the related Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).

“We were really astounded that even the API would try to mislead people in that fashion,” says Dinneen.

But Macchiarola tells OneNewsNow they’re not misleading anyone.

“I think it’s very easy to break down the argument and say, On the one side you have Big Oil and on the other side you have Big Corn – but that really simplifies the debate,” says Macchiarola. “From our perspective, we start with the facts, we start with data and we lay that out there to the American public, and the American public responds.”

Thoughts for the Day

“It is not the time which needs to be managed; it is ourselves.”
– Author Unknown

Each of us is called to do something in the name of love, to make sure that humanity comes to understand itself and is able to choose love over fear.”
– Robert Holden

“We can become prisoners of ourselves. One must dig tunnels to escape one’s own mind. We get just this one life. We have to stop doing time and live out our lives like we planned in our youth. No matter where we are, or how old, we can always reach for our dreams.”
– Miles Patrick Yohnke – Canada

I don’t believe you have to be better than everybody else. I believe you have to be better than you ever thought you could be.
– Ken Venturi

A leader’s job is not to do the work for others, it’s to help others figure out how to do it themselves, to get things done, and to succeed beyond what they thought possible.
– Simon Sinek

Briggs & Stratton Declares Dividend And Approves $50 Million Share Repurchase Authorization

MILWAUKEE, April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — Briggs & Stratton Corporation (NYSE:BGG):

At its regular quarterly meeting held today, the Board of Directors of Briggs & Stratton Corporation declared a quarterly dividend of thirteen and one half cents ($0.135) per share on the common stock of the Corporation.  The dividend is payable June 30, 2016 to shareholders of record at the close of business June 17, 2016.

Also, at its regular quarterly meeting held today, the Board of Directors of Briggs & Stratton Corporation authorized $50 million in funds for use in the Company’s stock repurchase program with an expiration of June 29, 2018.  Briggs & Stratton will repurchase shares of common stock, using available cash, on the open market or in private transactions from time to time, depending on market conditions.

Todd Teske, Briggs & Stratton Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, said “The Board’s actions today reflect continued confidence in our strategy, the long-term prospects of the business and our commitment to increase shareholder value.  We continue to have a disciplined, balance approach to capital allocation which allows us to opportunistically repurchase common shares while maintaining the flexibility to make strategic investments in the business.  We believe the business has significant upside potential as we continue to focus on innovation and margin expansion.”

The Toro Company Names D. Christian “Chris” Koch to Board of Directors

BLOOMINGTON, Minn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) today announced that it has elected D. Christian “Chris” Koch to its board of directors, effective immediately. The addition of Mr. Koch brings the Toro board to 11 members.

“Chris is a seasoned executive and public company board member with strong business acumen and significant experience managing manufacturing and sales operations around the world.”

Koch, 51, currently serves as president and chief executive officer at Carlisle Companies Incorporated (NYSE: CSL), a global diversified manufacturing company that designs, manufactures and markets a wide range of products based in Charlotte, North Carolina. Carlisle Companies had $3.5 billion in net sales for its fiscal year ended December 31, 2015. Koch joined Carlisle Companies in 2008 and has held a variety of senior management positions during his tenure, including as chief operating officer and group president of Carlisle Diversified Products. Koch has served as president and chief executive officer of Carlisle Companies since January 2016 and served as president and chief operating officer of Carlisle Companies from May 2014 to January 2016. Koch currently serves as a member of the Carlisle Companies board of directors and he previously served as a member of the board of directors of Arctic Cat Inc. (NASDAQ: ACAT). Throughout his career, Koch has held various other senior management positions in the manufacturing industry, including with Graco Inc. and H.B. Fuller Company.

“Chris is a seasoned executive and public company board member with strong business acumen and significant experience managing manufacturing and sales operations around the world,” said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and chief executive officer. “His leadership, experience and perspectives will be valuable and we are very excited to have him join our board.”

Koch holds a bachelor’s degree in economics and history from Macalester College, along with a master’s degree in business administration from the Carlson School of Management at the University of Minnesota.

About The Toro Company

The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) is a leading worldwide provider of innovative solutions for the outdoor environment, including turf, snow and ground engaging equipment and irrigation and outdoor lighting solutions. With sales of $2.4 billion in fiscal 2015, Toro’s global presence extends to more than 90 countries. Through constant innovation and caring relationships built on trust and integrity, Toro and its family of brands have built a legacy of excellence by helping customers care for golf courses, landscapes, sports fields, public green spaces, commercial and residential properties and agricultural fields. For more information, visit www.thetorocompany.com.

Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) Beats Q1 Earnings and Revenue

April 16, 2016 – Stanley Black & Decker (SWK) is a leading global manufacturer of branded tools and engineered solutions for professional, industrial and consumer applications. Also, the company provides integrated access and security solutions to commercial, institutional and residential customers. This New Britain, CT-based company has a $16.2 billion market capitalization.

However, weak industrial activities in the U.S. as well as damper global economy in the first-quarter 2016 might have adversely impacted demand for Stanley Black & Decker’s products. Also, the company is likely to face severe headwinds from adverse currency translation movements. Investors are eagerly waiting for the company’s latest earnings report.

Stanley Black & Decker’s earnings track record has been quite satisfactory in the trailing four quarters. Better-than-expected results in three out of four quarters led to an average earnings surprise of +4.15%.

Currently, Stanley Black & Decker has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), but that could definitely change after the release of its upcoming earnings report. We have highlighted some of the key stats from this just-revealed announcement below:

Earnings: Stanley Black & Decker reported earnings from continuing operations of $1.28 per share in first-quarter 2016. The bottom line result was above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.19 per share.

Revenue: Revenues surpassed. Stanley Black & Decker generated revenues of $2,672.1 million, above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,551 million.

Key Stats to Note: Stanley Black & Decker raised its organic revenue growth expectation from roughly 3% to 3−4%, while earnings is now predicted to be $6.20−$6.40 per share versus $6.00−$6.20 per share projected earlier.

Husqvarna Group – Interim Report January – March 2016

21 April, 2016 – Kai Wärn, President and CEO:
“2016 has started in line with our expectations with pre-season demand slightly higher than last year. The operating income continued to be positively impacted by favorable product mix development as well as a successful execution of efficiency improvements and cost reductions. All in all, the operational improvements have more than offset the currency headwind of around SEK -215m as well as the additional costs related to profitable growth initiatives. The operating income increased with SEK 54m to SEK 1,166m (1,112) for the first quarter and the operating margin improved to 10.3% (10.2).

Sales in the Husqvarna Division increased 4% adjusted for currency, with a continued strong sales trend for robotic lawn mowers. The favorable product mix development was offset by adverse currency impact, and consequently the operating income was somewhat lower at SEK 844m (897). The Gardena Division is off to a strong start of the year with sales growing 17% adjusted for currency. Demand was driven by low retail trade inventory levels following the strong end of last year’s season and our growth ambitions in respect of geography, channel and new product introductions such as the Gardena Smart Garden. Operating income for the division rose to SEK 226m (204).

Consumer Brands continued to focus on their turn-around. Several important steps have been taken and encouraging signs were seen in the first quarter. Sales stabilized after prior year’s decline which was driven by the value before volume strategy. Operating income rose to SEK 64m (-11) with a corresponding margin of 1.9% (-0.3), despite unfavorable currency impact of almost SEK -55m.

The Construction division continued to capitalize on its market leading portfolio of products and services, as well as the recent investments in market and sales structure. Growth in the first quarter was 6% adjusted for currency, resulting in an increase of operating income to SEK 89m (74) and the corresponding margin widening to 9.2% (8.0).

The priority for the Group during the remainder of the year will be to offset both the currency headwind and to finance the profitable growth initiatives by operational improvements.”

January – March 2016

  • Net sales amounted to SEK 11,361m (10,928), an increase of 5% adjusted for changes in exchange rates.
  • Operating income improved to SEK 1,166m (1,112).
  • Changes in exchange rates impacted operating income negatively by around SEK -215m.
  • Net debt decreased to SEK 8,254m (10,172) and the net debt/equity ratio improved to 0.60 (0.79).
  • Earnings per share decreased to SEK 1.32 (1.37).
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