The company’s net income for the first quarter was US$2.5 million or US$0.09 per share, compared to a net loss of $0.8 million or $0.03 per share in the prior year. First quarter revenue was $207.2 million versus $227.4 million in 2007.
“Despite the lower revenue, our operating earnings improved in the quarter and we had very strong cash flow,” said Dennis Rediker, president and CEO of Standard Register.
Operating income before pension loss amortization, restructuring, and impairment was $10.4 million for the quarter, up 10.6 percent compared to the $9.4 million result a year earlier.
Net cash flow was a positive $9.7 million in the quarter, after funding $5.0 million in pension contributions, $3.2 million in capital expenditures, and $6.7 million in dividends. Net debt ended the quarter at $41.6 million, representing just 26.5 percent of total capital. The company has generated $9.3 million in positive net cash flow over the trailing four quarters.
Standard Register reported that about a third of the revenue decline was from a single customer, who ended purchases after the first quarter of 2007. The balance of the business was off 6.0 percent. “The economy definitely played a role in our manufacturing market, where we saw decreased units. The impetus for our customers to continue to aggressively pursue cost reductions was to some degree also likely reinforced by economic conditions,” said Rediker.
The company’s mid-year 2007 cost reduction plan contributed significantly to the improved operating performance. This was evident in the percentage gross margin, which remained nearly identical to last year despite the lower revenue. In addition, SG&A expenses were $8.0 million lower in the quarter, excluding the pension loss amortization.
The company also announced a benefit freeze to its pension plan participants, which comprise about one-third of its employees. Affected employees will become eligible for enhanced 401K benefits in line with other employees that do not participate in the traditional pension plan.