Scotts Miracle-Gro narrows loss in fourth quarter

Staff Writer
Columbus CEO

Scotts Miracle-Gro struggled with unfavorable weather during its 2013 fiscal year, but managed to make a silk purse out of sow’s ear with planning, efficiency efforts and more conservative expectations than in past years.

The Marysville lawn and garden care company narrowed its loss to $19.4 million, or 31 cents a diluted share, in the fourth quarter, compared with a loss of $40.1 million, or 66 cents a diluted share, a year ago.

Net sales grew 10.4 percent to $443 million in the fourth quarter from a year ago, signaling a rebound in North American consumer purchases at large retailers as a cool, rainy spring and early summer in many regions passed.

“It wasn’t until September that we could relax a bit and catch our breath, but in the end, even with lower (sales) growth than we originally expected, we accomplished what we set out to do,” CEO Jim Hagedorn told securities analysts during a conference call today.

For the year, which ended Sept. 30, net income rose 51 percent to $161.1 million, or $2.57 a diluted share, compared with $106.5 million, or $1.71 a diluted share, in fiscal 2012.

Net sales were flat from 2012 at $2.8 billion.

“In our core U.S. business, we grew significant profit improvement in a flat category while maintaining overall market share,” Hagedorn said.

The company expects sales to grow between 2 percent and 3 percent, and earnings per share to grow between 10 percent and 15 percent in fiscal 2014. Its shares were down about 7 cents to $57.73 in early afternoon trading.


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