The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Day: April 17, 2008

Watsco Same-Store Sales Fall 10% in 1Q

Watsco, Inc., Coconut Grove, FL, reported revenues for the first quarter 2008, were up 3% to $380 million compared with the same period a year ago.
 
The increase includes 63 locations opened or acquired over the past 12 months, adding $49 million to sales in the quarter.
 
On a same-store basis, sales fell 10%, including a 10% decrease in the sale of air conditioning equipment, a 13% decrease in other HVAC products, and a 2% increase in the sale of refrigeration products.
 
Watsco is an independent distributor of air conditioning, heating and refrigeration equipment and related parts and supplies in the HVAC industry, operating 426 locations serving over 40,000 customers in 34 ...

Canadian Economic Output Bumps Up in January

Source: Statistics Canada

Canadian output in January rebounded smartly from a sharp drop in December, reflecting a widespread increase in demand. This was consistent with employment, which picked up steadily through the first quarter.

The bounce in output in January reflected the transitory nature of the factors that depressed gross domestic product in December. Just over half of this decline originated in a sharp slowdown in auto assemblies, the majority of which were related to model changeovers at several factories. Auto output in January recouped about half of these losses, and will continue to strengthen in February as more retooling is completed and cuts to control inventories moderate.

As well, the sharp recovery of transportation ...

Danaher Organic Growth at 2% in 1Q

Danaher Corp., Washington, D.C., reported sales for the first quarter 2008 were $3.03 billion, 20% higher than the 2007 first quarter. Core growth was 2%, driven by strength in its Hach-Lange, Fluke, Radiometer and Leica businesses.
 
Danaher saw lower demand in certain OEM and consumer-driven operations.
 
Net earnings from continuing operations were $277 million, up from the same period a year ago.
 
Danaher Corporation is a manufacturer of Professional Instrumentation, Medical Technologies, Industrial Technologies, and Tools and ...

Praxair Announces Price Increases

Praxair Distribution, Inc.,, Danbury, CT, a subsidiary of Praxair, Inc., announced discount reductions and price increases for its industrial, medical and specialty gas cylinder customers in the U.S. and Canada.

Increases will be up to 30% for helium, fuel gases and rare gases; 15% for argon, hydrogen and carbon dioxide/dry ice; 10% for oxygen, USP oxygen, nitrogen and nitrous oxide; and 15% for cylinder rental and facility fees.
 
Praxair said the price increases were due in part to escalating labor, energy and fuel costs and reflect the limited global availability of raw materials for certain products, particularly helium.

Praxair, Inc. is an industrial gases company with 2007 sales of $9.4 ...

Motion Industries Sales Rise 6% in 1Q

Genuine Parts Company, Atlanta, GA, reported sales for the first quarter ended March 31, 2008, were $2.74 billion, up 3% from last year. Profit was $123.5 million, an increase of 2%.
 
EIS, GPC's Electrical Group, sales were up 7% in the quarter.

Motion Industries had a 6% sales increase for the quarter.
 
The Automotive Group reported a 4% increase in the quarter.
 
S.P. Richards, the Office Products Group, was down 2% for the quarter, reflecting continued softness in the office products industry.

During the quarter, Automotive bought Altrom Canada and Altrom America, Motion acquired Mill Supply Corp. in March, and S.P. Richards completed the acquisition of O'Henry, a regional office products distributor. ...

Reliance Steel Sales Up 3.6% in 1Q

Reliance Steel &Aluminum Co., Los Angeles, CA, reported sales in the first quarter 2008 were $1.91 billion, an increase of 3.6% from the prior-year period. Profit was $107.4 million, down slightly from $111.7 million last year.
 
David H. Hannah, CEO of Reliance said: The 2008 first quarter turned out well. Pricing for our products was strong with significant increases in carbon steel, leading to improved gross profit margins. Demand in the markets that we serve remained fairly healthy, especially in the non-residential construction, energy, oil and gas, and aerospace industries."
 
Hannah said Reliance expects prices to be up or flat for most of the metals it sells in the second quarter. "Demand remains more difficult to predict," he said.
 
Reliance is a ...

HD Supply Launches Proprietary Brands

HD Supply, Atlanta, GA, has launched its two new proprietary brands, Seasons and Brigade. The Seasons brand will be carried on products such as kitchen and bath fixtures and ceiling fans, ultimately used by consumers, while Brigade will be carried on heavy duty products, such as tools and hardware, ultimately used by professional contractors and trades people on the job.
 
Seasons branded products are positioned in the better" quality tier; products with elevated features and functionality in the "best" quality tier carry the Seasons Gold brand.
 
Brigade is used with better quality professional-grade products, and Brigade 5-Star is reserved for best quality products. Currently, Seasons and Brigade branded products are primarily being sold through HD Supply's ...

Huttig Reports Net Loss in 1Q

Huttig Building Products, Inc., distributor of millwork, building materials and wood products, reported a net loss of $9.8 million for the first quarter 2008, compared with a net loss of $3.4 million in the year-ago period.
 
Sales fell 25% to $166.8 million.

While seasonally one of our slowest quarters, the 2008 first quarter was also significantly impacted by the 29% year-over-year decline in annualized housing starts," said Jon Vrabely, president and CEO.

"Given this challenge, we continue to pursue all avenues aimed at controlling expenses, improving operating efficiencies, reducing inventories and generating cash. Although we incurred an operating loss in the quarter, our year-over-year sales decreased less than the overall decline in housing starts, ...