published Friday, February 21st, 2014

Improving market, acquisitions booost Mohawk sales, profits

Mohawk Industries capitalized on the improving construction market and recent acquisitions to boost its fourth quarter earnings from continuing operations by 77 percent over a year ago.

The Calhoun, Ga.-based floorcovering manufacturer said Thursday it earned $131 million, or $1.79 per share, from continuing operations in the final three months of 2013. Those results were 4 cents a share above analysts expectations and Mohawk CEO Jeff Lorberbaum said he expects the profit and sales gains to continue through 2014.

"Our fourth quarter results were better than projected primarily as a result of higher top-line growth in our U.S. ceramic business, a strong performance from our Pergo acquisition and lower interest expense due to an upgrade in our credit rating," Lorberbaum said.

For all of 203, Mohawk earned $349 million, or $4.82 per share, on sales of $7.3 billion. Mohawk sales jumped 27 percent last year with most of the gains coming in Mohawk's growing ceramic tile business. Mohawk bought the laminate makers Pergo and Spano in early 2013.

Excluding unusual charges and discontinued operations, net earnings for Mohawk in 2013 rose 73 percent to $473 million, or $6.55 per share, or 6 cents better than analysts projections.

"We believe we are well positioned for both revenue and earnings growth in 2014," Lorberbaum said. "Through investments in acquisitions and capital expenditures, productivity improvements and product innovation, we have positioned Mohawk for growth and improved profitability in all segments."

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