Toro's STX38 stump grinder.

Toro's STX38 stump grinder.

US turf-care and landscaping equipment manufacturer The Toro Company has reported net sales of US$474 million (€418 million) for the three months to 30 January, 2015 – it’s financial first quarter – compared to US$446 million (€394 million) for the same period twelve months ago.

Net earnings were also up for the first quarter to US$31 million (€27 million), against US$26 million (€23 million) for the fiscal first quarter of 2014.

Chairman and CEO Michael Hoffman said, “We are pleased to deliver record results for the quarter, which was not only the first of our fiscal year but also the first to include the Boss professional snow and ice management products as part of our expanded professional portfolio.”

Toro acquired Boss in November last year for US$227 million (€181 million). Based in Iron Mountain, US, Boss designs, manufactures and sells snowploughs, salt and sand spreaders, and related parts and accessories, for light and medium duty trucks, ATVs, UTVs and loaders.

“We are encouraged by the execution in that business and the sales it contributed to the quarter,” Mr Hoffman continued. “Our integration efforts are progressing well and we continue to be optimistic about the prospects for future growth.

“Looking across our other professional businesses, shipments of worldwide golf and grounds equipment, landscape contractor turf equipment and rental products all increased in the quarter due to strong channel and retail demand for our innovative and productivity-enhancing offerings, helping to drive the double-digit revenue growth for that segment.”

“On the residential side of our business, we faced difficult first quarter comparisons due to last year’s early and abundant snowfalls that helped drive strong segment performance. This year, the robust pre-season demand that began in the second half of our 2014 fiscal year continued early in the quarter, but in-season demand was curtailed by a lack of snow events.

“The recent snowstorms that hit the Northeast and parts of Midwest at the end of our quarter, and are continuing to date, have helped to spur demand, drive retail sales, right-size field inventories and position us well for the pre-season next fall.

“All in, this is proving to be another successful snow season for us and one that helped our residential first quarter results, which otherwise were challenged by lower shipments of residential zero turn riding mowers due to supply inefficiencies and the ramp up of production of our highly anticipated new platform, as well as unfavourable currency exchange rates.”

The company forecast revenue growth for fiscal 2015 in the range of 8% to 10%, with net earnings per share of between US$3.35 (€2.95) and US$3.45 (€3.05).

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