17.02.05

17.2.2005: Meldung: Kadant Inc.: 2004 Fourth Quarter and Year-End Results

ACTON, Mass., Feb 16, 2005 -- For the fourth quarter of 2004, Kadant Inc. (NYSE:KAI) reported revenues of $45.9 million from continuing operations (including $1.5 million from the favorable effect of currency translation), compared with $48.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2003. Loss from continuing operations was $4.8 million, or $.34 per diluted share, in the 2004 period, compared with income from continuing operations of $3.2 million, or $.22 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. Excluding $.44 of after-tax restructuring and unusual charges primarily related to our operation in France, adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) was $.10, compared with $.22 in the 2003 period. Net loss, including the discontinued composite building products business, was $5.3 million, or $.38 per diluted share, in the 2004 quarter, compared with net income of $2.3 million, or $.16 per diluted share, in the 2003 period.

For the year, the company reported revenues from continuing operations of $195.0 million in 2004 (including $7.5 million from the favorable effect of currency translation), compared with $191.5 million in 2003.

Income from continuing operations in 2004 was $5.8 million, or $.40 per diluted share, versus $13.1 million, or $.94 per diluted share, in 2003.

Excluding $.42 of after-tax restructuring and unusual charges, adjusted diluted EPS was $.82 in 2004, versus $.94 in 2003. Net income in 2004, including the discontinued business, was $0.7 million, or $.05 per diluted share, versus $11.8 million, or $.85 per diluted share, in 2003.

"Although lower than last year, our revenues for the quarter were somewhat better than we expected," said William A. Rainville, chairman and chief executive officer of Kadant. "We also exceeded our EPS guidance for continuing operations, excluding the significant restructuring charge. Throughout 2004, paper companies in North America and Europe focused on reducing or postponing expenditures, and this hurt our performance. Our Kadant Lamort operation in France was particularly affected and incurred an operating loss during the fourth quarter, excluding the restructuring charge, that lowered our earnings by $.05 per share.

"That said, we"ve sustained our leadership as a paper industry supplier, and are working hard to position Kadant for growth as the market signals some increases in capital spending. Our actions in France should lead to profitability in that subsidiary in the latter part of 2005, and strengthen its competitive advantage going forward. We"ve maintained a technological edge that sets us apart in growing markets such as China, where bookings of our advanced stock-preparation equipment were $7.5 million during the fourth quarter - the best quarter for China bookings in 2004. In addition, our global presence continues to be a major asset, underscored by the recent order from Sappi Saiccor for a $3 million-plus pulp-washing system to be installed in South Africa.

"We"ve also improved our strong cash position, with cash flow from continuing operations of $6.6 million in the fourth quarter. Our cash balance - $82.1 million at year end - translates to approximately $5.90 per diluted share, based on our weighted average shares outstanding for the quarter. The strength of our balance sheet creates multiple opportunities for us to generate shareholder value, including investments in technology development, stock buybacks, and/or strategic acquisitions."

Mr. Rainville concluded, "With operating losses expected to continue in France, we estimate GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations of $.13 to $.15 in the first quarter of 2005, on revenues of $47 to $49 million. Our outlook for all of 2005, which assumes a turnaround in France later in the year, is $.80 to $.90 of GAAP diluted EPS from continuing operations, on revenues of $200 to $210 million."

Kadant will hold its earnings conference call on Thursday, February 17, 2005, at 11 a.m. Eastern time. To listen, call 800-709-2159 within the U.S., or 973-582-2810 outside the U.S. You can also listen to the call live on the Web by visiting www.kadant.com and clicking on "Investors." An audio archive of the call will be available on our Web site until March 18, 2005.

Kadant Inc. is a leading global supplier of a range of products that improve quality and productivity in pulp and paper production, including stock-preparation equipment, water-management systems, and paper machine accessories. Kadant, based in Acton, Massachusetts, had approximately $195 million in revenues from continuing operations in 2004 and 950 employees worldwide. For more information, please visit www.kadant.com.


SOURCE: Kadant Inc.

Investor contact:
Kadant Inc.
Thomas M. O"Brien, 978-776-2000
or
Media contact:
GreatPoint Communications, 978-392-6866
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