6309 Monarch Park Place, Suite 203
Niwot, CO 80503, USA
Phone (303) 443-5060
Toll free (888) 742-5060
Timothy T. Tevens, president and CEO, commented, ''We continue to have a strong market position and generate positive cash flow, despite the prolonged weakness in industrial markets largely due to low levels of industrial capacity utilization and capital spending. Over the last year, our quarterly sales seemed to have stabilized for most of our businesses and we have maintained a leading market share in our key product lines. We have taken significant costs out of our business through our Lean Manufacturing, facility rationalization, and other initiatives so we are well positioned to benefit from incremental increases in volumes going forward.''
Tevens continued, ''We have made significant progress in reducing and restructuring debt that will substantially improve our future financial flexibility. Columbus McKinnon's long-term debt at first quarter-end was at its lowest level in over five years. We anticipate closing today on our previously announced $115 million offering of 10 percent senior secured notes which will reduce annual interest expense by about $3.0 million, and extend the maturity of a significant portion of our long-term debt by three years. To generate additional cash for debt reduction, we are also actively marketing several pieces of property and continue to evaluate the possible sale of less synergistic businesses.''
Results for the first quarter of fiscal 2004 include a $3.3 million pre-tax gain related to the sale of real estate recorded as other income and expense, net, and a $1.2 million charge for amending the credit agreements in June 2003 recorded in interest and debt expense. The fiscal 2004 first quarter included restructuring charges of $0.8 million, compared with no restructuring charges in the year-ago quarter. Net cash provided by operating activities in the fiscal 2004 first quarter includes a $10.6 million cash tax refund related to the May 2002 sale of the ASI business that was received in late June 2003 and was applied to debt reduction. Fiscal 2003 first quarter results include a $3.5 million pre-tax gain included in other income and expense, net related to the sale of a portion of the equity portfolio of Columbus McKinnon's captive insurance subsidiary.
At June 29, 2003, Columbus McKinnon's funded debt, net of cash, was $305.3 million, a $9.1 million reduction from $314.4 million at March 31, 2003 and a reduction of $21.3 million from $326.6 million at June 30, 2002. The company was in compliance with its senior bank debt covenants at June 29, 2003. Inventory at June 29, 2003 was $75.2 million, a 14.6% decrease from $88.1 million, a year earlier.
Tevens concluded, ''Columbus McKinnon's strategic focus going forward is on our core Products business, which makes up over 85 percent of revenues and continues to generate gross margins of over 25 percent even in the current weak sales environment. While the current sales of our Products business are below normal levels, this business continues to sell into almost every major industrial and commercial market and is one where Columbus McKinnon holds a very strong reputation and competitive position. To further reduce costs and improve operating results going forward, we are targeting additional debt reduction from operations of $10 to $20 million during the remainder of fiscal 2004, not including additional cash we may generate from the potential sale of real estate and less synergistic businesses. We are also looking for $6 to $9 million in inventory reductions this year while continuing to emphasize excellent customer service and on-time deliveries. We will remain very focused on protecting and expanding Columbus McKinnon's market share and coverage, while continuing to reduce costs and debt to make further improvements in our operating results and financial position.''