MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- The Toro Co. said Tuesday that third-quarter earnings rose 23 percent, driven by new professional and residential lawn care products and new two-stage snow throwers. The company also raised its outlook for the full year.
Toro earned $27.0 million, or $1.03 per share, in the quarter ended Aug. 1, up from $21.9 million, or 84 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenues rose 5 percent to $394.5 million, from $375.6 million.
Third-quarter results included an after-tax restructuring charge of $1.0 million, or 4 cents per share, related to closing of a plant in Oxford, Miss. Excluding that charge, earnings would have been $28.1 million, or $1.07 per share.
Results of the Bloomington-based company beat the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First call by 10 cents a share. Toro's shares rose $1.25 to close at $44.50 on the New York Stock Exchange.
"Successful new products launched during the season drove revenue growth in both professional and residential segments, despite a lagging economy and above-average rainfall in many of our Eastern markets," said Kendrick Melrose, chairman and chief executive.
New golf greens mowing equipment, irrigation products, both walking and riding power mowers and the new snow removal products were key contributors to strong third-quarter sales. Sales of professional equipment increased 3.7 percent and residential sales increased 7.6 percent from the third quarter of 2002.
Based on the company's strong performance through the first nine months, Toro said it now expects to report net earnings of $3.08 to $3.10 per share for the full fiscal year.
Thomson First Call analysts had been expecting full-year earnings of $2.95 a share.
"We began fiscal 2003 strong and we expect to end the year strong," Melrose said. He added that improvements in productivity and efficiency are expected to continue into 2004.
For the first nine months, Toro earned just under $76.0 million, or $2.92 a share, up from $30.3 million, or $1.17 a share a year earlier, when the company took a $24.6 million charge for a change in accounting rules and booked $6.7 million in expenses related to restructuring and plant closings.
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