The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Fourth-Quarter 2020 Earnings Recap

How did the public distributors (and manufacturers relevant to this space) perform in the calendar fourth quarter? Our recap provides highlights of their revenue and earnings results.
4Q 2020 earnings recap

Below is a rundown of how public companies in distribution performed during the fourth quarter of 2020. The list includes companies across a variety of verticals and includes some manufacturers pertinent to this space.

Click the company name for more details on their quarterly earnings, including year-to-date performance, and in select recaps, look for links to separate blogs that provide more analysis.

Here’s how companies performed in the October-December quarter:

  • 3M (NYSE: MMM) — The St. Paul, Minnesota-based company reported fourth-quarter sales of $8.6 billion, a 5.8% increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Profit was $1.4 million, a 43.3% increase compared to the prior-year period.
  • Applied Industrial Technologies Inc. (NYSE: AIT) — The Cleveland, Ohio-based company reported sales for its fiscal second quarter ended Dec. 31 of $751.3 million, a decrease of 9.9% compared with the same quarter a year ago. The company reported a loss in the quarter of 5.3 million, compared with a profit of $38 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2020.
  • Arrow Electronics Inc. (NYSE: ARW) — The Centennial, Colorado-based electronics distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $8.5 billion, up 15.2% compared with the fourth quarter of 2019. Net income of $236.1 million was about double from $112 million in the year-ago quarter.
  • Avnet Inc. (Nasdaq: AVT) — The Phoenix, Arizona-based electronics distributor reported sales for the fiscal second quarter ended Jan. 2 of $4.7 billion, up 2.9% year-over-year. Profit for the quarter was $19.2 million, up significantly from a profit of $3.7 million in the year-ago fiscal second quarter.
  • Beacon Roofing Supply Inc. (Nasdaq: BECN) — The Herndon, Virginia-based building materials distributor reported sales of $1.6 billion for the first quarter of its fiscal 2021, up 11.4% compared to the year-ago period. The company reported a profit of $71 million, up significantly from a profit of $18.2 million the same quarter a year ago. Beacon in the period also said it was divesting its interior products business to private equity-backed Foundation Building Materials for $850 million.
  • Bluelinx Holdings Inc. (NYSE: BXC) — The Marietta, Georgia-based building materials distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $865 million, an increase of 41% year-over-year. The company reported a profit of $20 million, compared to a loss of $10 million in the prior-year quarter.
  • BMC Stock Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: STCK) — MDM is dropping coverage of BMC, which was acquired in 2020 by Builders FirstSource Inc. (see below).
  • Builders FirstSource Inc. (Nasdaq: BLDR) — The Dallas, Texas-based building materials distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $2.5 billion, a 43.5% increase from the same quarter a year ago. Profit of $149 million tripled the company’s profit of $45.8 million in 4Q 2019. Last year the company announced its $2.5 billion acquisition of BMC Stock Holdings Inc., Raleigh, North Carolina, though fourth-quarter and full-year results do not include the financial results of BMC.
  • DXP Enterprises Inc. (NASDAQ: DXPE) — The Houston, Texas-based MRO and industrial distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $232.7 million, down 21.2% compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. The company reported a loss of $1.9 million, compared with a profit of $2.2 million in the year-ago period. The company also completed some acquisitions in the period.
  • Fastenal Co. (Nasdaq: FAST) — The Winona, Minnesota-based fasteners and industrial distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $1.4 billion, a 6.4% increase compared with the same period a year ago. Quarterly profit was $196.1 million, a 9.7% increase compared to the year-ago period. Read more about the company in our blog, Fastenal Execs Shed Light on ‘Evolving’ Branch Model.
  • Ferguson PLC (LON: FERG) — The Wokingham, United Kingdom-based distributor reported sales of $10.3 billion for the first half of fiscal year 2021, up 4.2% compared to the same period a year ago. Trading profit of $875 million marked a 12% increase from the year-ago period. (The company didn’t break out its second quarter.) Ferguson is also now being traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “FERG.”
  • Foundation Building Materials Inc. (NYSE: FBM) — The building materials distributor, which was acquired last November by an affiliate of the private equity firm American Securities LLC for $1.4 billion, no longer publicly reports its financials.
  • Genuine Parts Co. (NYSE: GPC) — The Atlanta, Georgia-based parent of Motion — what GPC calls its “industrial parts group” — reported that the distributor’s fourth-quarter sales of $1.4 billion were down 3.3% year-over-year and represented 34% of total company revenues (up from 32% the prior quarter).
  • HD Supply Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: HDS) — MDM is dropping coverage of HD Supply, which was acquired in 2020 by The Home Depot.
  • Huttig Building Products Inc. (Nasdaq: HBP) — The St. Louis, Missouri-based building materials distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $184.6 million, a 2.3% increase over the prior-year period. The company reported a loss of $0.3 million for the quarter, up from a loss of $9.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • Lawson Products Inc. (Nasdaq: LAWS) — The Chicago-based MRO distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $98.1 million, up 10.8% compared to the year-ago quarter. Net income of $0.2 million was up from a loss of $3 million in the year-ago period.
  • MRC Global Inc. (NYSE: MRC) — The Houston, Texas-based pipes, valves and fittings distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $579 million, down 24.4% from the same period a year ago. The company reported a loss of $11 million, compared to a loss of $30 million last year.
  • MSC Industrial Supply Co. (NYSE: MSM) — Industrial distributor MSC Industrial Supply Co. (NYSE: MSM), Melville, New York, reported sales of $771.9 million for its fiscal first quarter, a 6.3% decrease compared to the year-ago period. Quarterly profit was $38.5 million, a 41.5% decrease compared with the first quarter last year.
  • NOW Inc. (NYSE: DNOW) — The Houston-based distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $319 million, a 50.1% decrease from the same period a year ago. The company reported a loss of $44 million, compared to a loss of $139 million a year ago.
  • Pool Corp. (Nasdaq: POOL) — The Covington, Louisiana-based distributor of swimming pool and related backyard products, reported third-quarter sales of $1.1 billion, up 26.8% from a year ago. Profit increased 49.8% to $119.1 million.
  • SiteOne Landscape Supply Inc. (NYSE: SITE) — The Roswell, Georgia-based landscape distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $675.1 million, up 26% from the same period a year ago. Net income increased to $11.5 million from $2.5 million. The company closed five acquisitions during the period.
  • Systemax Inc. (NYSE: SYX) — The Port Washington, New York-based parent of Global Industrial reported fourth-quarter sales of $273.9 million, up 23.3% from the same period the previous year. The company reported profit of $16.4 million, up 43.9% from the fourth quarter of 2019.
  • United Rentals Inc. (NYSE: URI) — The Stamford, Connecticut-based distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $1.9 billion, down 10.1% compared to the year-ago period. Profit of $297 million was down 12.1% compared with a year ago.
  • Watsco Inc. (NYSE: WSO) — The Miami-based HVACR distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $1.2 billion, up 7.7% year-over-year. Profit increased 23.4% to $46 million. Read more in our blog, Watsco’s Outlook: More M&A, Customer Focus, Tech Investment.
  • WESCO International Inc. (NYSE: WCC) — The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based electrical distribution reported fourth-quarter sales of $4.1 billion, marking a year-over-year increase of 97% that was due to acquiring Anixter in 2020. Profit was $5.6 million, down from $53.1 million in the year-ago period.
  • W.W. Grainger Inc. (NYSE: GWW) — The Chicago-based distributor reported fourth-quarter sales of $2.9 billion, up 3.3% compared to the year-ago quarter, or 5.6% on an organic daily basis compared to the fourth quarter 2019 (excluding divestitures and foreign exchange). Grainger’s profit increased 63% to $168 million. Read more in our blog, What Happened to Grainger’s Margins in 4Q?

*Not all public distributors or companies relevant to the distribution space are included in this roundup. We will continue to build out this list in the coming quarters. If you’d like to recommend a company for inclusion in this quarterly feature, please email eric@mdm.com.

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