Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 13:20 EDT

United Stationers Reports Record Revenue And Earnings Per Share

February 14, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill., Feb. 14, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — United Stationers Inc. (NASDAQ: USTR) reported record revenue and earnings per share for both the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2012. It also announced a workforce reduction and facility closure program to reduce costs while allowing continued investment in growth initiatives. The company intends to record a pre-tax charge in the first quarter of 2013 for expenses related to this program.

Fourth Quarter Financial Summary

  • Diluted earnings per share for the quarter were up 25% to $0.81.
  • Net sales increased 3.6% from the prior-year period to $1.24 billion.
  • Gross margin reached $201.7 million, or 16.2% of sales.
  • Operating expenses were $146.3 million, or 11.8% of sales.
  • Operating income increased by 21% to $55.4 million or 4.4% of sales.
  • Net income rose by 18% to $32.9 million.
  • The company completed the acquisition of O.K.I. Supply Co. (OKI) during the quarter.

2012 Financial Summary

  • Diluted earnings per share were $2.73, compared with $2.42 in 2011. Adjusted earnings per share in 2012 grew 12% to $2.82((1)) from $2.51((1)).
  • Net sales rose 1.9% from the prior year to $5.1 billion, after adjusting for one fewer selling day in 2012.
  • Gross margin was $774.6 million or 15.2% of sales.
  • Operating expenses were $573.7 million or 11.3% of sales. Adjusted operating expenses were $567.4 million((1)) or 11.2%((1)) of sales.( )
  • Operating income was $200.9 million or 4.0% of sales. Adjusted operating income reached $207.2 million((1)) or 4.1%((1)) of sales.
  • Net cash provided by operating activities totaled $189.8 million.
  • 2.5 million shares were repurchased at a cost of $69.9 million.

“Our fourth quarter results showed progress on many fronts,” said Cody Phipps, president and chief executive officer. “Benefiting from our recent acquisition, United’s industrial platform is expected to contribute 12% of total revenues and is well positioned for future growth. Our other businesses also continued to show sales and profit growth. This reflected the success of our cost control and value-adding initiatives, and our continued focus on building capabilities that help customers and suppliers capitalize on opportunities in this evolving market. As a result, we generated record revenue, EPS growth and strong cash flow.”

Fourth Quarter Results

Net sales for the fourth quarter of 2012 were $1.24 billion, up 3.6% from the prior-year period. For the latest three months, industrial supplies sales grew 30.4%, the janitorial & breakroom category expanded 1.9%, office products grew 1.2%, and furniture sales increased 3.9%. The technology category declined 0.1%. Without the effect of the OKI acquisition, consolidated net sales would have increased 1.8%.

Gross margin for the latest quarter was $201.7 million or 16.2% of sales, compared with $173.7 million or 14.5% of sales in the prior year. Gross margin was positively affected by strong execution on a number of fronts, including higher inventory purchase-related supplier allowances, War on Waste (WOW) cost savings and an improvement in overall margin components.

Operating expenses in the 2012 quarter were $146.3 million or 11.8% of sales, compared to $127.8 million or 10.6% of sales in the prior-year period. The latest quarter was unfavorably affected by higher employee-related expenses, including variable management compensation, and higher depreciation and amortization. These were partially offset by a reduction in bad debt.

Operating income in the latest three months was $55.4 million or 4.4% of sales, versus $45.9 million or 3.8% of sales in the fourth quarter of 2011.

Net income for the fourth quarter of 2012 was $32.9 million versus $27.9 million the year prior. Year-over-year net income was negatively affected by a higher effective tax rate in 2012.

Diluted earnings per share for the most recent quarter were $0.81 versus $0.65 in the prior-year period. Earnings per share growth was driven by increases in operating income, the impact of share repurchases and a reduction in interest expense. Earnings per share for the 2011 quarter included the favorable impact of renegotiated acquisition related earn-outs.

2012 Results

Net sales for the latest year increased 1.9% to $5.1 billion, compared with $5.0 billion in 2011. Excluding the effect of the OKI acquisition, net sales grew 1.5%.

Gross margin in 2012 was $774.6 million or 15.2% of sales, compared with $740.1 million or 14.8% of sales in 2011. This increase was mainly due to higher inventory purchase-related supplier allowances and WOW initiative savings. These improvements were partially offset by competitive pricing pressures and margin mix.

Operating expenses in 2012 totaled $573.7 million or 11.3% of sales. Adjusted operating expenses in 2012 were $567.4 million((1) )or( )11.2%((1) )of sales, excluding the previously reported $6.2 million pre-tax charge for the distribution network optimization and targeted cost reduction program. Adjusted operating expenses in 2011 were $536.4 million((1)) or 10.7%((1)) of sales, which excluded $0.7 million for a partial reversal of a workforce realignment charge, a $4.4 million equity compensation charge related to a transition agreement with the company’s former chief executive officer, as well as a $1.6 million asset impairment charge related to an equity investment. Higher employee-related expenses and increased depreciation and amortization were partially offset by lower bad debt expense.

Operating income in 2012 was $200.9 million or 4.0% of sales, compared with $198.3 million or 4.0% of sales in the prior year. Adjusted operating income was $207.2 million((1) )or 4.1%((1)) of sales, compared with $203.6 million((1)) or 4.1%((1)) of sales in 2011.

Net income was $111.8 million for 2012 versus $109.0 million a year ago. Adjusted net income in 2012 was $115.7 million((1)) versus $112.9 million((1)) in 2011.

Diluted earnings per share for the latest year were $2.73 versus $2.42 in 2011. Adjusted diluted earnings per share for 2012 rose 12% to $2.82((1)), compared with $2.51((1)) in the prior year. The improvement came from higher operating income, the impact of share repurchases, and lower interest expense. Earnings per share for 2011 included the favorable impact of renegotiated acquisition-related earn-outs.

Cash Flow and Debt

Net cash provided by operating activities for 2012 totaled $189.8 million versus $130.4 million in 2011. The increase was mainly due to stronger earnings combined with lower working capital needs. Cash flow used in investing activities, including net capital expenditures and acquisitions, totaled $107.3 million in 2012. Gross capital expenditures were $32.8 million in 2012, compared to $28.0 million in 2011.

The company had approximately $985 million of total committed debt capacity at December 31, 2012. Outstanding debt at year-end 2012 and 2011 was $524.4 million and $496.8 million, respectively. Debt-to-total capitalization increased to 41.5% from 41.3% for the prior year. During 2012, the company repurchased 2.5 million shares for $69.9 million, which was partially funded by additional borrowings from debt facilities. The company also paid $21.3 million in dividends during the current year. The amount remaining under Board share repurchase authorizations at December 31, 2012, was $55.1 million.

“Our balance sheet and cash flow are strong,” said Phipps. “During 2012 and early 2013, we took actions to secure new low-cost financing, continued investing in our growth businesses and acquired OKI. We also increased our dividend and returned capital to shareholders through share repurchases.”

2013 Outlook and First Quarter Actions

“Despite the continued weak economy, United Stationers entered 2013 with solid momentum,” Phipps stated. “The changing market requires that we adapt and evolve, and we are doing this proactively and from a position of strength. We are optimizing our network of distribution centers and realigning resources to support our growth businesses while keeping core operations strong.

“Our strategy is focused on delivering the capabilities that our business partners need to succeed,” he added. “By consistently improving this value, we expect to continue to outperform in the markets in which we compete.”

During the first quarter of 2013, the company plans to take a pre-tax charge in the range of $9 million to $11 million for closing certain OKI facilities, severance costs, and other related expenses. Its goal is to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of operations. The pre-tax charges will be recorded against operating expenses. Cash outflows will occur during 2013 and 2014. Annualized savings associated with these actions are expected to exceed the costs of the charge, with most of the savings materializing in early 2014. Management plans to invest a portion of these savings in growth and other strategic initiatives.

Conference Call

United Stationers will hold a conference call followed by a question and answer session on Friday, February 15, 2013, at 10:00 a.m. CST, to discuss fourth quarter and year-end 2012 results. To participate, callers within the U.S. and Canada should dial (888) 771-4371 and international callers should dial (847) 585-4405 approximately 10 minutes before the presentation. The confirmation number is “33961424.” To listen to the webcast, participants should visit the Investor Information section of the company’s website at ir.unitedstationers.com several minutes before the event is broadcast and follow the instructions provided to ensure that the necessary audio application is downloaded and installed. This program is provided at no charge to the user. In addition, interested parties can access an archived version of the call, also located on the Investor Information section of United Stationers’ website, about two hours after the call ends. This news release, along with a financial slide presentation and other information relating to the call, also will be available on the website.

Forward-Looking Statements

This news release contains forward-looking statements, including references to goals, plans, strategies, objectives, projected costs or savings, anticipated future performance, results or events and other statements that are not strictly historical in nature. These statements are based on management’s current expectations, forecasts and assumptions. This means they involve a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied here. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to the following: prevailing economic conditions and changes affecting the business products industry and the general economy; United’s ability to effectively manage its operations and to implement growth, cost-reduction and margin-enhancement initiatives; United’s reliance on key customers, and the risks inherent in continuing or increased customer concentration; United’s reliance on key suppliers and the supplier allowances and promotional incentives they offer; United’s reliance on independent resellers for a significant percentage of its net sales and, therefore, the importance of the continued independence, viability and success of these resellers; continuing or increasing competitive activity and pricing pressures within existing or expanded product categories, including competition from product manufacturers who sell directly to United’s customers; the impact of a loss of, or substantial decrease in, the availability of products or service from key vendors at competitive prices; United’s ability to maintain its existing information technology systems and the systems and eCommerce services that it provides to customers, and to successfully procure, develop and implement new systems and services without business disruption or other unanticipated difficulties or costs; the creditworthiness of United’s customers; United’s ability to manage inventory in order to maximize sales and supplier allowances while minimizing excess and obsolete inventory; United’s success in effectively identifying, consummating and integrating acquisitions; the risks and expense associated with United’s obligations to maintain the security of private information provided by United’s customers; the costs and risks related to compliance with laws, regulations and industry standards affecting United’s business; the availability of financing sources to meet United’s business needs; United’s reliance on key management personnel, both in day-to-day operations and in execution of new business initiatives; and the effects of hurricanes, acts of terrorism and other natural or man-made disruptions.

Shareholders, potential investors and other readers are urged to consider these risks and uncertainties in evaluating forward-looking statements and are cautioned not to place undue reliance on the forward-looking statements. For additional information about risks and uncertainties that could materially affect United’s results, please see the company’s Securities and Exchange Commission filings. The forward-looking information in this news release is made as of this date only, and the company does not undertake to update any forward-looking statement. Investors are advised to consult any further disclosure by United regarding the matters discussed in this release in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission and in other written statements it makes from time to time. It is not possible to anticipate or foresee all risks and uncertainties, and investors should not consider any list of risks and uncertainties to be exhaustive or complete.

Company Overview

United Stationers Inc. is a leading wholesale distributor of business products, with 2012 net sales of $5.1 billion. The company stocks a broad and deep line of approximately 130,000 items on a national basis, including technology products, traditional office products, janitorial and breakroom supplies, office furniture, and industrial supplies. A network currently comprised of 72 distribution centers allows it to deliver these products to over 25,000 reseller customers. This network, combined with United’s depth and breadth of inventory, enables the company to ship most products overnight to more than 90% of the U.S. and offer next-day delivery to major cities in Mexico and Canada. For more information, visit www.unitedstationers.com.

United Stationers’ common stock trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market under the symbol USTR.

((1) )This is non-GAAP information. A reconciliation of these items to the most comparable GAAP measures is presented at the end of this news release. Except as noted, all references to financial results are presented in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles.

For Further Information Contact:

Cody Phipps
President and Chief Executive Officer


Fareed A. Khan
Sr. Vice President and Chief Financial Officer
United Stationers Inc.
(847) 627-7000

- tables follow -

                                                               United Stationers Inc. and Subsidiaries
                                                             Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income
                                                                (in thousands, except per share data)

                                  For the Three Months Ended                         For the Years Ended
                                         December 31,
                                                                                         December 31,
                                                        2012                           2011                    2012          2011
                                                        ----                           ----                    ----          ----

    Net sales                                                           $1,244,074                       $1,201,391  $5,080,106   $5,005,501
    Cost of goods sold                                                   1,042,416                        1,027,674   4,305,502    4,265,422
                                                                         ---------                        ---------   ---------    ---------
    Gross profit                                                           201,658                          173,717     774,604      740,079

    Operating expenses:
       Warehousing, marketing and
        administrative expenses                                            146,304                          127,835     573,693      541,752

    Operating income                                                        55,354                           45,882     200,911      198,327

    Interest expense                                                         4,332                            7,275      23,276       27,369

    Other (income) expense                                                      --                           (2,328)         --       (1,918)
                                                                               ---                           ------         ---       ------

    Income before income taxes                                              51,022                           40,935     177,635      172,876

    Income tax expense                                                      18,097                           13,001      65,805       63,880
                                                                            ------                           ------      ------       ------

    Net income                                                             $32,925                          $27,934    $111,830     $108,996
                                                                           =======                          =======    ========     ========

    Net income per share -
     diluted                                                                 $0.81                            $0.65       $2.73        $2.42
                                                                             =====                            =====       =====        =====
    Weighted average number of
     common shares - diluted                                                40,406                           43,010      40,991       45,014
                                                                            ======                           ======      ======       ======

                              United Stationers Inc. and Subsidiaries
                               Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets
                             (dollars in thousands, except share data)

                                                     As of December 31,
                                                           2012                2011
                                                           ----                ----
        Cash and cash
         equivalents                                                  $30,919          $11,783
         net                                                          658,760          659,215
        Inventories                                                   767,206          741,507
        Other current
         assets                                                        30,118           48,093
               Total current
                assets                                              1,487,003        1,460,598

       plant and
       net                                                            143,523          129,438
      Goodwill                                                        357,226          328,061
       assets                                                          67,192           56,285
      Other long-
       term assets                                                     20,260           20,500
                                                                       ------           ------
               Total assets                                        $2,075,204       $1,994,882
                                                                   ==========       ==========

         payable                                                     $495,278         $499,265
         liabilities                                                  205,228          193,572
               Total current
                liabilities                                           700,506          692,837

       income taxes                                                    18,054           14,750
       debt                                                           524,376          496,757
      Other long-
       liabilities                                                     94,176           85,859
                                                                       ------           ------
                liabilities                                         1,337,112        1,290,203

        Common stock,
         $0.10 par
         authorized -
         100,000,000                                                    7,444            7,444
            issued -
            shares in
            2012 and
         capital                                                      404,196          409,190
         stock, at
         cost -
         32,281,847                                                  (963,220)        (908,667)
           shares at
            December 31,
            2012 and
         earnings                                                   1,343,437        1,253,118
         loss                                                         (53,765)         (56,406)
                                                                      -------          -------
       equity                                                         738,092          704,679
                                                                      -------          -------
            equity                                                 $2,075,204       $1,994,882
                                                                   ==========       ==========

                                                                      United Stationers Inc. and Subsidiaries
                                                                       Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows
                                                                                  (in thousands)

                                                                                                              For the Years Ended December 31,
                                                                                                                    2012                 2011
                                                                                                                    ----                 ----
    Cash Flows From Operating Activities:
         Net income                                                                                                         $111,830                     $108,996
         Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by
             operating activities:
         Depreciation and amortization                                                                                        36,077                       34,053
         Share-based compensation                                                                                              8,746                       15,734
         Loss on the disposition of plant, property and equipment                                                                122                           59
         Impairment of equity investment                                                                              --                          1,635
         Amortization of capitalized financing costs                                                                             995                          974
         Excess tax benefits related to share-based compensation                                                                (648)                      (6,858)
         Deferred income taxes                                                                                                (6,713)                      20,914
    Changes in operating assets and liabilities:
             Decrease (increase) in accounts receivable, net                                                                  21,820                      (31,686)
             Decrease (increase) in inventory                                                                                 10,374                      (58,376)
             Decrease (increase) in other assets                                                                              21,105                      (18,656)
             Increase in accounts payable                                                                                     16,264                       89,195
             Decrease in checks in-transit                                                                                   (32,008)                     (11,803)
             Increase (decrease) in accrued liabilities                                                                          276                       (1,228)
             Increase (decrease) in other liabilities                                                                          1,574                      (12,590)
                                                                                                                               -----                      -------
                 Net cash provided by operating activities                                                                   189,814                      130,363
    Cash Flows From Investing Activities:
         Capital expenditures                                                                                                (32,787)                     (27,981)
    Proceeds from the disposition of property, plant and equipment                                                               775                           63
    Acquisition net of cash acquired                                                                                         (75,254)                          --
                 Net cash used in investing activities                                                                      (107,266)                     (27,918)
    Cash Flows From Financing Activities:
         Net borrowings under debt arrangements                                                                               26,367                       91,757
         Repayment of debt                                                                                            --                       (376,800)
         Proceeds from the issuance of debt                                                                           --                        340,000
         Net proceeds from share-based compensation arrangements                                                                 864                        9,264
         Acquisition of treasury stock, at cost                                                                              (69,908)                    (162,674)
    Payment of cash dividends                                                                                                (21,285)                     (17,517)
         Excess tax benefits related to share-based compensation                                                                 648                        6,858
         Payment of debt fees and other                                                                                         (143)                      (2,817)
                 Net cash used in financing activities                                                                       (63,457)                    (111,929)
                                                                                                                             -------                     --------
         Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents                                                             45                          (34)
                                                                                                                                 ---                          ---
         Net change in cash and cash equivalents                                                                              19,136                       (9,518)
         Cash and cash equivalents, beginning of period                                                                       11,783                       21,301
                                                                                                                              ------                       ------
         Cash and cash equivalents, end of period                                                                            $30,919                      $11,783
                                                                                                                             =======                      =======

                                             United Stationers Inc. and Subsidiaries
                                          Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Financial Measures
                              Adjusted Operating Income, Net Income and Diluted Earnings Per Share
                                              (in thousands, except per share data)

                                                               For the Years Ended December 31,
                                                            2012                                     2011
                                                            ----                                     ----
                                         Amount                      % to                   Amount                      % to
                                                                  Net Sales                                          Net Sales
                                                                  ---------                                          ---------

    Sales                                             $5,080,106                  100.00%                 $5,005,501               100.00%
                                                      ==========                  ======                  ==========               ======

    Gross profit                                        $774,604                   15.24%                   $740,079                14.78%

    Operating expenses                                  $573,693                              11.28%                      $541,752         10.82%
       Equity compensation -
        CEO transition                          --                        --                 (4,409)          (0.09)%
       Asset impairment
        charge                                  --                        --                 (1,635)          (0.03)%
       Facility closures and
        severance charge                                   6,247                  (0.12)%                         --                   --
       Early retirement /
        workforce realignment                                            --                     --                            723          0.01%
    Adjusted operating
     expenses                                           $567,446                              11.16%                      $536,431         10.71%
                                                        ========                              =====                       ========         =====

    Operating income                                    $200,911                               3.96%                      $198,327          3.96%
    Operating expense item
     noted above                             6,247                      0.12%                 5,321             0.11%
                                             -----                      ----                  -----             ----
    Adjusted operating
     income                                             $207,158                               4.08%                      $203,648          4.07%
                                                        ========                               ====                       ========          ====

    Net income                                          $111,830                                            $108,996
    Operating expense
     items noted above,
     net of taxes                            3,873                                            3,920
                                             -----                                            -----
    Adjusted net income                                 $115,703                                            $112,916
                                                        ========                                            ========

    Net income per share -
     diluted                                               $2.73                                               $2.42
    Per share operating
     expense items noted
     above                                    0.09                                             0.09
                                              ----                                             ----
    Adjusted net income
     per share - diluted                                   $2.82                                               $2.51
                                                           =====                                               =====

    Adjusted net income
     per share - diluted
    rate over the prior
     year period                                12%

    Weighted average
     number of common
     shares                                 40,991                                           45,014
    - diluted

Note: Adjusted Operating Expenses, Operating Income, Net Income and Earnings Per Share for the year ended December 31, 2012, exclude the effects of a $6.2 million charge related to facility closures and severance cost, while 2011 excludes the effects of an equity compensation charge related to a transition agreement with the former chief executive officer, a non-deductible asset impairment charge, and a reversal of a prior-period charge for early retirement / workforce realignment. GAAP require that the effects of these items be included in the Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income. Management believes that excluding these items is an appropriate comparison of its ongoing operating results to last year, and that it is helpful to provide readers of its financial statements with a reconciliation of these items to its Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income reported in accordance with GAAP.

SOURCE United Stationers Inc.

Source: PR Newswire