Worthington Industries reports higher annual sales, profit

Dan Gearino, The Columbus Dispatch

Worthington Industries is reporting a decrease in profit and sales for the fiscal fourth quarter, while posting an increase in profit and sales for the year.

The Columbus-based manufacturer faced several one-time expenses and a decrease in steel prices in the fiscal quarter that ended in May. The price of steel is an important variable because the company's steel-processing business has a large inventory of the metal.

"We had a solid performance this quarter and an excellent fiscal year," John P. McConnell, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. "Excluding impairment and restructuring charges, we achieved the highest annual earnings per share in our history."

The one-time expenses included a $4.8 million writeoff for a joint venture in China and $2.5 million for severance costs related to the announced closing of a hand-torch plant in Medina, N.Y.

"Our outlook remains positive," McConnell said, pointing to the strength in the auto industry, which is a key customer, and in promising signs for other product lines.