Herman Miller shares up on strong 4Q earnings

ZEELAND, Mich. (AP) -- Shares of Herman Miller Inc. hit a new 52-week high last Thursday after the office furniture and accessories maker announced better-than-expected net income for its fiscal third quarter.

The Zeeland, Mich.-based company said late last Wednesday that it earned $16.5 million, or 28 cents per share, for the quarter ended March 2. That was up 11 percent from $14.9 million, or 26 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding one-time items, Herman Miller said it posted an adjusted profit of 32 cents per share.

Revenue increased 6 percent to $423.5 million from $399.8 million.

The profit beat Wall Street predictions, while the revenue fell short. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 28 cents per share on $436.3 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

Herman Miller attributed the lower-than-expected revenue to tough economic conditions outside of the U.S. and lower U.S. government sales.

Overall North American sales increased 2 percent to $285.4 million, while new orders at that division increased 8 percent to $267.5 million. Reportable non-North American sales jumped 17 percent to $90.8 million, while new orders increased 3 percent to $80.8 million.

The company projected an adjusted fourth-quarter profit of 34 cents to 38 cents per share on $430 million to $450 million in revenue. Analysts expect earnings of 35 cents per share on $448.4 million in revenue.

Raymond James analyst Budd Bugatch backed his "Outperform" rating for Herman Miller. He said that while his expectations for near-term demand at the company remain "muted," the new year should turn out to be a good one for the industry in light of improving trends in corporate profits, business confidence, white collar employment and office vacancies.

Published: Mon, Mar 25, 2013