Outdoor Power Equipment and Engine Service Association
860.767.1770

STIHL Opens New Facility with Distribution Center

STIHL recently celebrated the grand opening on its Northeast STIHL location in Oxford, Conn. The company relocated from Shelton, Conn., to this new 110,000-sq.-ft. facility, which was completed in October 2016.

“With over 9,000 independent servicing dealers across the country, it’s critical that we provide them with superior service and support,” said Nick Jiannas vice president of sales and marketing for STIHL. “The new facility in Oxford, Conn., is just one example of the kinds of investments we are making at STIHL to strengthen our distribution infrastructure.”

The company selected Oxford for its access to the I-84 and I-95 corridors, which are main routes for deliveries to STIHL dealers. In addition, the facility is designed to drive efficiencies to further enhance dealer support and responsiveness. Expanded warehouse capabilities include efficient racking and storage systems; improved pick and pack processes that reduce errors and increase productivity; and 13 loading doors to handle inbound/outbound freight. As a result, Northeast STIHL will be able to provide one- to two-day shipping service to most of the servicing dealers in the region. In addition, Northeast Stihl now can offer enhanced training and technical services capabilities to dealers in a new indoor/outdoor training facility and state-of-the-art workshop.

The Northeast STIHL facility occupies 20 acres and has roughly 56 employees. Northeast STIHL provides service to dealers in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

STIHL officials on hand credited Oxford for the ease of the process in acquiring the property and building the distribution center.

“Everything we needed they were very helpful with, all while staying protective of their constituents,” McGrath said.

Oxford First Selectman George Temple said he was happy to have the company in town, and that its decision reflected well on Oxford. “This is a very big plus for our town,” Temple said. “We’re gaining a very good reputation in the state for our friendliness to business.”


Black and Decker Recalling Portable Table Saws

WASHINGTON – Black and Decker is recalling a table saw that can collapse unexpectedly, posing laceration and impact injury.

The recall involves model number JT2504BD Black & Decker brand 10-inch table saws. The table saws sit on a black metal foldable stand. Black & Decker and JT2504BD are printed on the front right side of the table saw.

The saws were sold at Walmart stores nationwide and online at Walmart.com from February 2016 through August 2016 for about $190.

Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled table saws and contact Rexon for a free replacement stand.

The number is 866-934-6360 from 7:30 a.m. to p.m. Monday through Friday or www.rexon.net and clicking “Safety Information” for more information.


New OPEI Poll Shows Consumers are Confused About Fuel Choices

A new nationwide research study of over 2,000 adults 18+ conducted online by Harris Poll on behalf of the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) has found that Americans seem to remain confused about new fuel choices at the pump and their appropriate usage. Even more concerning are reports of consumers mis-fueling their engine products. This year’s poll shows more consumers have incorrectly used an E15 or higher ethanol fuel in an engine not designed for it compared to 2015 (5% in latest study vs. 3% in 2015).

The OPEI survey found that more Americans who own outdoor power equipment are paying attention to the type of fuel they use this year than in years past, with 44% saying they pay attention (compared with 36% in 2016 and 35% in 2015). Additionally, awareness of ethanol in gasoline seems to remain steady, with 84%, overall, reporting they are aware of that fact this year compared to 85% in 2016 and 84% in 2015.

“While most people seem to be aware that there is ethanol in gasoline, the poll results show increased mis-fueling. This raises big concerns as different ethanol content fuels become available in the marketplace,” said Kris Kiser, President and CEO of OPEI.

Over three in five Americans assume that any gas sold at fueling stations is safe for all of their cars as well as other, non-road engine products, like boats and mowers (63% in 2017, up from 60% in 2016 and 57% in 2015). This year’s poll also shows roughly 2/3 of Americans believe higher ethanol blends of gas are safe to use in any engine (31%).

“Hundreds of millions of pieces of legacy outdoor power equipment products are in use today that are designed and warranted to run on E10 or less fuel. Remember E15 is unlawful to use, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). With higher ethanol blends available for sale, such as E15, E30 and E85, it’s up to all of us to educate consumers about selecting the right fuel for the right product. Consumers can no longer assume that what goes in their truck or car is right for their lawn mower, snow blower, chainsaw, generator or other piece of outdoor power equipment,” said Kiser.

U.S. government tests have shown ethanol’s harmful effects on outdoor power equipment not developed for fuels containing greater than 10% ethanol. A Department of Energy study found that E15 fuel caused hotter operating temperatures, unintentional clutch engagement, erratic running, and engine-part failure.

In 2014, OPEI launched its “Look Before You Pump” program to help educate consumers on proper fueling and pointing out that the U.S. government has said it is illegal to use gasoline containing more than 10% ethanol in outdoor power equipment.

But concern about selecting the right fuel for the right product seems to be far from the minds of consumers. Price seems to continue to drive choice when purchasing gas. Most Americans (69%) admit to choosing the least expensive gas whenever possible (up from 63% in 2015).

Only one quarter of Americans (25%) notice the ethanol content at the pump while just over half (53%) take note of the octane rating.

Other findings include:

  • Just over half of Americans (55% in 2017, up from 50% in 2015) say they always read the labels on fuel pumps;
  • The same proportion (55%) claim they typically only pay attention to warning labels on the pumps if they say “Warning” or “Do Not Use In…”
  • Only 7% think that it’s illegal to use higher ethanol blends of fuel, such as E15, in engines such as those in boats, mowers, chainsaws, snow mobiles, generators and other engine products.
  • Another fueling mistake committed by roughly 1/3 of outdoor power equipment owners (31%) is placing equipment into long-term storage without draining the leftover fuel out first. However, on the upside, 33% claim they have mixed fuel stabilizer in with the fuel for their outdoor power equipment. Other findings along this vein:
  • Nearly half of outdoor power equipment owners (48%) said they would put fuel that is more than 30 days old in their equipment;
  • The majority of outdoor power equipment owners (80%) say they always use a safe container when storing gasoline for their equipment;
  • Just over a third (35%) label the fuel storage container they use for their outdoor power equipment with the date they purchased the fuel.

 

Go to www.LookBeforeYouPump.com for safe fueling information of small engine equipment.


Husqvarna First Quarter Interim Report (Jan-Mar 2017)

From Kai Wärn, President and CEO:
“The preseason sell-in to trade partners constitutes a good start of the year for the Group with a net sales increase of 7% adjusted for currency. Group operating income was 22% higher than last year, totaling SEK 1,425m (1,166) and the corresponding margin reached 11.2% (10.3). The execution of the profitable growth strategies in the Husqvarna, Gardena and Construction divisions are proceeding well. The Consumer Brands Division experienced a lower first quarter sell-in, impacted by a couple of larger retail customers adjusting their buying patterns to tighter just-in-time order scheduling. We view this as a periodization between quarters.

The improved operating income for the Group was mainly driven by higher volumes and a strong product mix development. Changes in exchange rates had a positive impact, however partly offset by increased raw material costs.

Sales in the Husqvarna Division increased 11% currency adjusted, with continued strong development of robotic lawn mowers and other battery-powered products. Operating income increased 24% to SEK 1,047m (844). In the Gardena Division sales rose 9% currency adjusted. Further geographical expansion and new sales channels as well as a large number of new product introductions impacted sales positively, even compared to a strong first quarter last year. Operating income increased 11% to SEK 251m (226). Net sales in the Consumer Brands Division were 4% lower adjusted for currency, which impacted operating income and margin negatively.

During the quarter the acquisition of Pullman Ermator was completed. It is an exciting step in the Construction Division’s ambition to build a market-leading position and take share in the attractive concrete surfaces and floors market. In the second quarter we also expect the acquisition of the floor grinding solutions market leader HTC to be finalized, which will further improve our product portfolio and ability to better serve our customers in
this important area. Sales in the Construction Division grew 18% in the first quarter adjusted for currency, of which 9% was attributable to acquisitions whereof mainly Pullman Ermator. The strong sales growth impacted operating income positively, which increased 59% to SEK 141m (89) and the operating margin increased to 11.8% (9.2).

To support our profitable growth journey, we continue to invest in strategic growth initiatives along with efforts to improve efficiency. Focus for the second quarter, following the successful sell-in phase, will be to support our trade partners to deliver an equally positive sell-through.”

January – March 2017

  • Net sales increased to SEK 12,746m (11,361), corresponding to a currency adjusted* growth of 7%.
  • Operating income increased 22% to SEK 1,425m (1,166), corresponding to a margin of 11.2% (10.3).
  • Changes in exchange rates, net of raw material costs, impacted operating income by around SEK 80m.
  • Operating working capital as a percentage of net sales for the last twelve months was 28.1% (27.1).
  • Earnings per share after dilution increased 30% to SEK 1.72 (1.32).
Group SekM Q1 2017 Q1 2016 Change % LTM* FY2106
Net sales 12,746 11,361 12 37,367 35,982
Currency adjusted change*, % 7 5 0
Operating income 1,425  1,166 22 3,477 3,218
Operating margin, % 11.2 10.3 9.3 8.9
Income for the period 988 761 30 2,331 2,104
Earnings per share after dilution, SEK 1.72 1.32 30 4.06 3.66

Net sales, Divisions
Husqvarna 6,372 5,457 17 18,875 17,960
Gardena 1,715 1,518 13 5,230 5,033
Consumer Brands 3,419 1 8,930 8,888
Construction 967 24 4,331 4,101

Operating income, Divisions
Husqvarna 1,047 844 24 2,520 2,317
Gardena 251 226 11 620 595
Consumer Brands 53 64 -17 -8 3
Construction 141 89 69 620 568

*Alternative Performance Measure, refer to page 16 for definitions and reconciliations. 1 Last Twelve Months.
FIRST QUARTER
Net sales
Net sales for the first quarter 2017 increased 12% to SEK 12,746m (11,361). The currency adjusted increase was 7%.

Operating income
Operating income for the first quarter improved by 22% to SEK 1,425m (1,166) and the corresponding operating margin increased to 11.2% (10.3). The higher sales volume and a favorable product mix development impacted positively, which to some extent was offset by increased costs for growth initiatives.

Changes in exchange rates had a total positive year-on year impact on operating income of approximately SEK 100m compared to the first quarter previous year.

Financial items net
Financial items net amounted to SEK -138m (-142).

Income after financial items
Income after financial items increased to SEK 1,287m (1,024).

Taxes
Tax amounted to SEK -299m (-263) corresponding to a tax rate of 23% (26).

Earnings per share
Income for the period attributable to equity holders of the Parent Company increased to SEK 985m (759), corresponding to SEK 1.72 (1.32) per share after dilution.

OPERATING CASH FLOW
Operating cash flow* for the first quarter decreased to SEK -2,137m (-1,737). An improved cash flow from operations was more than offset by lower cash flow from changes in operating assets and liabilities. Trade receivables increased reflecting the higher volume and the impact from payables decreased affected by an early start of the pre-build for the 2017 season.

Due to the seasonal build-up of working capital, operating cash flow* is normally negative in the first quarter, followed by positive cash flow in the second and third quarters, while cash flow in the fourth quarter is impacted by the pre-season production for the next year.

FINANCIAL POSITION
Group equity as of March 31, 2017, excluding non-controlling interests, increased to SEK 15,372m (13,643), corresponding to SEK 26.8 (23.8) per share after dilution.

Net debt* amounted to SEK 9,800m (8,254) affected by the negative cash flow in the first quarter, the weaker Swedish Krona and the acquisition of Pullman Ermator. The net pension liability increased to SEK 1,736m (1,552), other interest-bearing liabilities increased to SEK 10,297m (8,816) and liquid funds and other interest-bearing assets increased to SEK 2,233m (2,114).

The net debt/equity ratio amounted to 0.64 (0.60) and the equity/assets ratio was 39% (39).


Briggs & Stratton Fiscal Third Quarter Earnings Report

MILWAUKEE — Briggs & Stratton Corporation (NYSE:BGG) recently announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended April 2, 2017.

  • Fiscal third quarter net sales were $597 million, a decrease of $7 million or 1.1% compared to last year. Strong sales growth in commercial engines and products was offset by a sales decline in small engines due to OEM customers producing closer to the season, as anticipated.
  • Fiscal third quarter gross profit margin of 22.6% increased from GAAP gross profit margin of 21.1% and adjusted gross profit margin of 21.2%, principally on a more favorable product mix, including a higher proportion of commercial engines and commercial products, the positive impact of innovative new engines, and improvements in manufacturing efficiencies.
  • Third quarter net income was $35.8 million, an increase from GAAP net income of $26.8 million and adjusted net income of $34.9 million last year.
  • Third quarter diluted earnings per share were $0.83, an increase from $0.61 (GAAP) and $0.80 (adjusted) last year.
  • Repurchased $2.8 million in shares under the share repurchase program during the quarter.

 

“Our focus on growing higher margin commercial engines and products has been an important factor in driving our improved profitability over the last few years and we continued to make progress during our fiscal third quarter,” said Todd J. Teske, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. “The hard work over the past several years to reposition our product portfolio and manufacturing footprint in order to place the proper focus on commercial growth of engines, lawn and turf care and job site products is showing results as we have achieved solid growth driven in part by new product introductions. These markets present an attractive opportunity due to their size and anticipated growth rates. We believe that we have the brands, the products and the distribution network to grow our commercial portfolio in excess of the market.” Teske continued, “At the same time, we continue to introduce new, innovative residential products and engines that will help homeowners get the job done.

Our engine placement on residential lawnmowers again leads the market and positions us well for improvements across the housing market. As we have indicated throughout this fiscal year, both OEMs and retailers have been cautious in their ordering activity, choosing to produce and take inventory closer to the season.

We saw this particularly in the most recently completed quarter.

We remain optimistic that the upcoming season will reflect market growth in the U.S. of 1-4% over the course of the mowing season. Together, the base provided by our market-leading residential products combined with the higher margin, higher growth commercial products positions us well for profitable growth.”

Outlook:
Our outlook for fiscal 2017 remains unchanged from previous guidance, except for higher capital expenditures. Capital expenditures are now expected to be $80 million to $90 million compared to previous guidance of $70 million to $80 million.

Summary of fiscal 2017 guidance:

  • Net sales are expected to be in a range of $1.86 billion to $1.90 billion. We continue to expect that the U.S. residential lawn and garden market will improve by 1% to 4% over the course of the season. Customers have taken a more cautious approach to building inventory for the season as we anticipated. It is possible engine sales may shift beyond the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017 depending on the pace with which the season
  • Net income is expected to be in a range of $57 million to $64 million or $1.31 to $1.46 per diluted share (prior to the impact of any share repurchases).
  • Operating margins are expected to be approximately 5.5% to 8%.
  • The effective tax rate is expected to be in a range of 31% to 33%.

 

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

 This release refers to non-GAAP financial measures including “adjusted gross profit”, “adjusted engineering, selling, general, and administrative expenses”, “adjusted segment income (loss)”, “adjusted net income (loss)”, and “adjusted diluted earnings per share.” Refer to the accompanying financial schedules for supplemental financial data and corresponding reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to certain GAAP financial measures.


$0.03 Earnings Per Share Expected for ARI Network Services, Inc. (ARIS) This Quarter

Wall Street analysts predict that ARI Network Services, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARIS) will report $0.03 earnings per share (EPS) for the current quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Two analysts have made estimates for ARI Network Services’ earnings. ARI Network Services also posted earnings of $0.03 per share in the same quarter last year. The firm is scheduled to announce its next quarterly earnings results on Thursday, June 8th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that ARI Network Services will report full year earnings of $0.09 per share for the current fiscal year. For the next financial year, analysts forecast that the company will report earnings of $0.14 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $0.12 to $0.15. Zacks Investment Research’s EPS calculations are an average based on a survey of sell-side analysts that that provide coverage for ARI Network Services.

ARI Network Services (NASDAQ:ARIS) last released its earnings results on Thursday, March 9th. The software maker reported $0.01 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $0.02 by $0.01. ARI Network Services had a return on equity of 5.89% and a net margin of 3.55%. The firm had revenue of $13.24 million for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $12.95 million.

Separately, Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of ARI Network Services from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, December 28th.
Institutional investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. 12 West Capital Management LP bought a new position in shares of ARI Network Services during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $5,518,000. Ativo Capital Management LLC bought a new position in shares of ARI Network Services during the fourth quarter valued at approximately $969,000. Dalton Greiner Hartman Maher & Co. increased its position in shares of ARI Network Services by 52.9% in the first quarter. Dalton Greiner Hartman Maher & Co. now owns 263,421 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $1,370,000 after buying an additional 91,164 shares during the last quarter. Eagle Global Advisors LLC bought a new position in shares of ARI Network Services during the third quarter valued at approximately $264,000. Finally, Spark Investment Management LLC increased its position in shares of ARI Network Services by 79.0% in the third quarter. Spark Investment Management LLC now owns 58,900 shares of the software maker’s stock valued at $261,000 after buying an additional 26,000 shares during the last quarter. 32.85% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

About ARI Network Services
ARI Network Services, Inc (ARI) provides Website, software and data solutions. The Company’s solutions include Lead Generation and eCommerce Websites, eCatalogs, Business Management Software, Digital Marketing Services. It offers a menu of Website add-ons, including a mobile inventory management application, third-party inventory integrations and business management integrations.


OPEI To Host Annual Meeting – Registration Deadline May 15, 2017

The outdoor power equipment industry gathers in Kohler, Wisconsin this June to network, recharge and meet up with old friends at the Outdoor Power Equipment Institute’s annual meeting. Attendees will take a virtual trip to Washington and the South Pole – two places not so dissimilar these days – through a roster of world-class speakers.
From June 20-22, industry leaders will meet for OPEI’s yearly event at The American Club in Kohler and hear from speakers Ben Saunders, world record-breaking polar explorer; Ann Marie Buerkle, Chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC); Mark Halperin, managing editor of Bloomberg Politics and TV host of “With All Due Respect;” Dr. Alan Beaulieu, award-winning economist and author; and Margaret O’Gorman, head of the Wildlife Habitat Council.

“We have an incredible line-up of presenters coming to the annual meeting,” said Kris Kiser, OPEI president and CEO. “Who better to help us make sense of our current times than Mark Halperin, someone steeped in Washington day-to-day, and Ben Saunders, who’s achieved the impossible by crossing the Arctic? Both places require seemingly impossible feats these days, and we thought these speakers would have some good things to share around navigating uncharted territory.”

Kiser adds, “Also, as a testament to the great relationship-building work of our UTV committee and staff, we will reunite with our colleague Ann Marie Buerkle, the new chair at the CPSC. Dr. Alan Beaulieu is a favorite economic speaker for our members, and Margaret O’Gorman will bring a unique perspective around our urban landscapes.”
The OPEI meeting is open to all OPEI members, and offers speaking events, networking events and social activities, such as golf.

“The American Club is a terrific place for us to gather, as it puts us in the heart of where our industry friends and family live and work. Kohler also is close to where our members do business,” says Kiser. “The fact Kohler has some of the best golfing in the country doesn’t hurt.”

The OPEI Board of Directors also will meet right after the closing of the annual meeting.

To register for the Annual Meeting.


Thoughts for the Day

“Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come.”
– Robert H. Schuller

“Spring is when you feel like whistling even with a shoe full of slush.”
– Doug Larson

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
– Anne Bradstreet

“Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”
– Robin Williams

“In the spring I have counted one hundred and thirty-six different kinds of weather inside of four and twenty hours.”
– Mark Twain

“Bare feet on the grass comfort the spirit and connect the body to the earth all at once!”
– Maximillian Degenerez


Analysts Expect Douglas Dynamics Inc (PLOW) Will Announce Earnings of -$0.06 Per Share

Wall Street brokerages expect that Douglas Dynamics Inc (NYSE:PLOW) will post ($0.06) earnings per share for the current fiscal quarter, according to Zacks Investment Research. Three analysts have issued estimates for Douglas Dynamics’ earnings, with the lowest EPS estimate coming in at ($0.09) and the highest estimate coming in at ($0.02). Douglas Dynamics posted earnings of ($0.04) per share in the same quarter last year, which would suggest a negative year over year growth rate of 50%. The business is scheduled to issue its next quarterly earnings report on Monday, May 8th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Douglas Dynamics will report full year earnings of $1.51 per share for the current fiscal year, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.50 to $1.52. For the next financial year, analysts forecast that the business will report earnings of $1.78 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $1.75 to $1.80. Zacks’ earnings per share averages are an average based on a survey of research analysts that cover Douglas Dynamics.

Douglas Dynamics (NYSE:PLOW) last released its quarterly earnings data on Monday, March 6th. The auto parts company reported $0.44 EPS for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.37 by $0.07. Douglas Dynamics had a net margin of 10.73% and a return on equity of 19.72%. The business earned $130.10 million during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $131.81 million. During the same quarter in the prior year, the firm earned $0.66 EPS. The business’s revenue was up 9.5% on a year-over-year basis.

A number of equities analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Douglas Dynamics from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Saturday, January 7th. Sidoti assumed coverage on shares of Douglas Dynamics in a report on Monday, February 27th. They issued a “buy” rating on the stock. Finally, Craig Hallum assumed coverage on shares of Douglas Dynamics in a report on Tuesday, January 24th. They issued a “buy” rating and a $42.00 target price on the stock.

In other Douglas Dynamics news, SVP Mark Adamson sold 5,178 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $32.46, for a total value of $168,077.88. Following the transaction, the senior vice president now directly owns 68,647 shares in the company, valued at approximately $2,228,281.62. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is accessible through the SEC website. Also, CFO Robert L. Mccormick sold 10,951 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 6th. The shares were sold at an average price of $32.47, for a total transaction of $355,578.97. Following the completion of the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 142,214 shares in the company, valued at $4,617,688.58. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders own 2.80% of the company’s stock.

Institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of the stock. Van Den Berg Management I Inc. purchased a new position in Douglas Dynamics during the fourth quarter valued at $336,000. Acadian Asset Management LLC purchased a new position in Douglas Dynamics during the third quarter valued at $342,000. Bowling Portfolio Management LLC purchased a new position in Douglas Dynamics during the fourth quarter valued at $381,000. Victory Capital Management Inc. purchased a new position in Douglas Dynamics during the third quarter valued at $411,000. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System purchased a new position in Douglas Dynamics during the third quarter valued at $447,000. Institutional investors own 86.47% of the company’s stock.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Friday, March 31st. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 21st were issued a $0.24 dividend. This represents a $0.96 annualized dividend and a yield of 3.05%. This is a positive change from Douglas Dynamics’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.24. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Friday, March 17th. Douglas Dynamics’s payout ratio is presently 48.96%.

Douglas Dynamics Company Profile
Douglas Dynamics, Inc is a manufacturer and up-fitter of commercial vehicle attachments and equipment. The Company’s portfolio includes snow and ice management attachments sold under the BLIZZARD, FISHER, HENDERSON, SNOWEX and WESTERN brands, turf care equipment under the TURFEX brand and industrial maintenance equipment under the SWEEPEX brand.


Kubota Celebrates Official Opening of New North American Headquarters

Kubota Tractor Corporation unveiled its new North American headquarters building in Grapevine, Texas, April 7 in a special ribbon-cutting ceremony with Texas Governor Greg Abbott and Masatoshi Kimata, president and representative director of the Kubota Group, along with state and local officials and supporters from the Grapevine community, who all helped to usher in a new era for the company.

The company’s move to Texas from Torrance, Calif., is the most significant change it has undertaken in its successful 45-year history in the United States, where it has introduced over the years a full line of iconic orange tractors, construction equipment, lawn and garden equipment and utility vehicles.

“Today is an important day for Kubota as this new building is both a testament to our commitment to the future growth of our business in the U.S., and our pledge of being a socially responsible corporate citizen and active business partner with the great state of Texas and the city of Grapevine,” said Mr. Masato Yoshikawa, president and CEO of Kubota Tractor Corporation, at the ceremony. “As a new employer to the area, our hope is to continue to attract talent from the local community with this open environment, state-of-the art workplace and continue our long-term growth strategy to strengthen the Kubota brand in the U.S.”

Kubota has invested more than $50 million in the three-story, environmentally friendly office building, which totals 193,000 square feet, and includes an onsite research and development facility, and is designed to maximize work efficiencies and conserve resources in alignment with Kubota’s global brand statement, “For Earth, For Life.”

“Kubota is the model business partner,” said Governor Abbott. “The new headquarters not only stands as a symbol for their hard work up to this moment, but also for the solid foundation for which they’re able to continue building for a prosperous future here in Texas. We are proud that job-creating industry leaders like Kubota are calling Texas home, and thank them for their confidence in the Lone Star State and the hard-working people of Grapevine.”

The headquarters building houses Kubota Tractor Corporation and Kubota Credit Corporation, placing Kubota’s leadership and professional staff closer to the company’s major markets and its manufacturing, assembly and distribution facilities in Georgia and Kansas. By centrally locating more of its operations, Kubota will be able to respond more quickly to changes in markets and the industry, and streamline its operations for both dealer and customer benefit.

Currently, 275 employees are working in Grapevine as a culmination of new hires and relocated employees from Torrance, Calif., and Suwanee, Ga. The building is large enough to accommodate nearly 600 employees with room to expand.


Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. Reports Record First Quarter-Net Sales

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. (OBCI) announced today record first quarter net sales. For the first quarter of 2017 net sales were approximately $8.4 million, compared to approximately $6.8 million for the first quarter of 2016, an increase of approximately 24% or $1.6 million.

Ocean Bio-Chem. Peter Dornau commented, “We are especially pleased that for the second consecutive year the Company has achieved record first quarter sales. The increase in sales is a testimonial to the continuing growth of brand awareness and acceptance of our quality Star brite® and Star Tron® products.”

Mr. Dornau continued, “Our outlook for 2017 continues to be positive. With improving employment, lower gas prices, and optimism in the US economy, we believe there is increased consumer spending on recreational sports, including water sports/boating and use of recreational vehicles (RV’s). In addition, improved boat and RV sales, helps drive additional revenues for the Company.”

Mr. Dornau concluded, “The Company continues to invest in new products, consumer and trade advertising and customer marketing programs to drive sales increases. We are cautiously optimistic the strong sales trends will continue for the balance of 2017.”

The first quarter 2017 financial statements, on SEC Form 10-Q will be available at www.sec.gov by May 15, 2017.

About Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc.
Ocean Bio-Chem, Inc. manufactures, markets and distributes a broad line of appearance and maintenance products for the marine, automotive, power sports, recreational vehicle and outdoor power equipment markets under the Star brite®, Star Tron®, Odor Star®, Outdoor Collection and other brand names within the United States of America and Canada. In addition, the Company produces private label formulations of many of its products for various customers and provides custom blending and packaging services for these and other products. The Company also manufactures, markets and distributes a line of disinfectant, sanitizing and deodorizing products under the Star brite® and Performacide® brand names.

The Company trades publicly under NASDAQ Capital Markets, Ticker Symbol: OBCI.

The Company’s web sites are: www.oceanbiochem.com, www.starbrite.com, www.startron.com and www.performacide.com

Forward-looking Statements:
Certain statements contained in this Press Release, including without limitation, our ability to continue to achieve favorable sales results and positive outlook for the balance of 2017, constitute forward-looking statements. For this purpose, any statements contained in this report that are not statements of historical fact may be deemed to be forward-looking statements. Without limiting the generality of the foregoing, words such as “believe,” “may,” “will,” “expect,” “anticipate,” “intend,” or “could,” including the negative or other variations thereof or comparable terminology, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors which may cause actual results to be materially different from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Factors that may affect these results include, but are not limited to, the highly competitive nature of our industry; reliance on certain key customers; changes in consumer demand for marine, recreational vehicle and automotive products; advertising and promotional efforts; exposure to market risks relating to changes in interest rates, foreign exchange rates, prices for raw materials that are petroleum or chemical based and other factors addressed in Part I, Item 1A (“Risk Factors”) in our annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2016.


Schiller Grounds Care Acquires 21-Inch Commercial Mower Line from Eastman Industries

Schiller Grounds Care, Inc., a leading manufacturer of lawn and garden power equipment, has acquired all of the assets related to the Eastman Industries 21-inch commercial heavy-duty mower family. The new models in the acquisition will be added to Schiller’s BOB-CAT® brand of commercial mowers.

BOB-CAT® currently offers full-size, commercial walk-behind mowers with deck sizes from 32 up to 61 inches. With this addition, BOB-CAT® further expands their offerings to lawn care professionals by rounding out their walk-behind lineup.

“We’ve been looking to get back into the 21-inch walk-behind market for a while now, and the acquisition of this product was a perfect fit,” said Matt Donohue, Brand Director for Schiller Grounds Care. “We know that this addition to the BOB-CAT family will help us continue to comprehensively serve our commercial customers, giving them the top-quality equipment they need to get the job done.”

This 21-inch commercial mower lineup will boast pro-quality features, including a cast aluminum deck, optional 3-speed transmission, and many other high-quality features that uphold the BOB-CAT® reputation for quality and durability.

BOB-CAT® will begin production on these mowers later in 2017 at their Johnson Creek, Wis., facility.


Stanley Black & Decker Posts Positive Q1 Results

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — Stanley Black & Decker (NASDAQ: SWK) on Friday (April 21) reported first-quarter profit of $393.1 million.

Earnings from continuing operations were $1.29 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.19 and slightly above the previous year’s mark of $1.28. The company posted net income of $2.59 per share.

The company’s net sales totaled $2.8 billion, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.75 billion. Stanley Black & Decker expects full-year earnings in the range of $7.08 to $7.28 per share.

Stanley Black & Decker reports revenues under three market segments. Following are abridged descriptions of each segment’s performance for Q1 gathered from Zacks.

Tools & Storage:
The segment generated revenues of $1.85 million, an increase of 9% year-over-year, representing 66.1% of net revenue in the quarter. Organic revenues grew 6% while acquisitions had a positive 4% impact.

Industrial:
Revenues $472.6 million accounted for roughly 16.8% of net revenue, an increase of 3% year over year. The growth was triggered by volume gains of 5%, partially offset by 1% negative price impact and adverse currency impact of 1%.

Security:
The segment accounted for roughly 17.1% of net revenue, decreasing 5% year over year to $478.5 million. Favorable price impact of 1% and acquisition gain of 1% were more than offset by 1% negative impact of forex losses and 6% negative impact of divestitures.
During an earnings call with investors on Friday, Stanley Black & Decker EVP & CFO Don Allan said overall the security segment “delivered a solid quarter starting the year on the right foot from an organic growth perspective, at the same time executing seamlessly on the mechanical locks divestiture. Additionally, they had a strong orders trend in the quarter and therefore backlog is positioned well going into the second quarter.”
In North America, the security segment’s organic growth increased 2%, its highest organic growth quarter since the second quarter of 2015 led by higher volumes within automatic doors, which continues to perform very well as well as solid healthcare growth, according to the company.

Allan said the company is expecting low-single-digits organic growth for its security segment in 2017.

“Note that the margin rate for the segment will be down year-over-year as we begin the process of lapping comps inclusive of the Mechanical Locks business just divested this quarter,” he said. “Excluding that sale however, the margin rate for the year will be flat to slightly positive.”

Stanley Black & Decker shares have increased 16% since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has increased 5%. The stock has risen 23% in the last 12 months.


Generac Holdings Inc. (GNRC) Expected to Announce Earnings of $0.41 Per Share

Equities analysts expect Generac Holdings Inc. (NYSE:GNRC) to report earnings of $0.41 per share for the current quarter, Zacks Investment Research reports. Seven analysts have provided estimates for Generac Holdings’ earnings, with estimates ranging from $0.38 to $0.44. Generac Holdings posted earnings of $0.46 per share during the same quarter last year, which would indicate a negative year over year growth rate of 10.9%. The business is scheduled to report its next earnings report before the market opens on Thursday, April 27th.

According to Zacks, analysts expect that Generac Holdings will report full year earnings of $2.96 per share for the current year, with EPS estimates ranging from $2.80 to $3.05. For the next year, analysts anticipate that the firm will post earnings of $3.19 per share, with EPS estimates ranging from $3.01 to $3.34. Zacks’ EPS averages are a mean average based on a survey of sell-side research analysts that that provide coverage for Generac Holdings.

Generac Holdings (NYSE:GNRC) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 14th. The technology company reported $1.12 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.03 by $0.09. The firm had revenue of $417.40 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $415.44 million. Generac Holdings had a net margin of 4.80% and a return on equity of 42.39%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 16.7% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm posted $0.97 earnings per share.

GNRC has been the subject of several research reports. TheStreet upgraded shares of Generac Holdings from a “c+” rating to a “b” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 16th. Canaccord Genuity reiterated a “hold” rating and issued a $40.00 price target on shares of Generac Holdings in a research report on Friday. Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Generac Holdings from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, March 15th. William Blair reiterated an “outperform” rating on shares of Generac Holdings in a research report on Wednesday, February 15th. Finally, KeyCorp upped their price target on shares of Generac Holdings from $42.00 to $45.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a research report on Tuesday, February 7th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, three have issued a hold rating and three have issued a buy rating to the stock. Generac Holdings has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $42.00.

A number of institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in GNRC. BlackRock Inc. boosted its position in shares of Generac Holdings by 17.8% in the third quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 32,675 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $1,186,000 after buying an additional 4,933 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Investment Management LLC boosted its position in shares of Generac Holdings by 1.1% in the third quarter. BlackRock Investment Management LLC now owns 264,184 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $9,590,000 after buying an additional 2,943 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC boosted its position in shares of Generac Holdings by 69.3% in the third quarter. BlackRock Advisors LLC now owns 281,435 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $10,216,000 after buying an additional 115,191 shares in the last quarter. US Bancorp DE boosted its position in shares of Generac Holdings by 2.1% in the third quarter. US Bancorp DE now owns 26,669 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $968,000 after buying an additional 542 shares in the last quarter. Finally, PNC Financial Services Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Generac Holdings by 435.3% in the third quarter. PNC Financial Services Group Inc. now owns 10,251 shares of the technology company’s stock valued at $372,000 after buying an additional 8,336 shares in the last quarter.

Generac Holdings (NYSE:GNRC) traded up 1.61% during trading on Monday, hitting $36.57. 221,852 shares of the stock traded hands. The stock has a market cap of $2.29 billion, a P/E ratio of 24.38 and a beta of 1.09. Generac Holdings has a 52-week low of $32.33 and a 52-week high of $44.84. The company’s 50 day moving average price is $37.23 and its 200-day moving average price is $39.21.

Generac Holdings Company Profile
Generac Holdings Inc (Generac) is a designer and manufacturer of power generation equipment and other engine powered products. The Company serves the residential, light commercial, industrial, oil and gas, and construction markets. Its segments include Domestic and International. The Domestic segment includes the Generac business.

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