Ferguson plc 2022 Third Quarter Results
Third quarter highlights
- Strong sales growth of 23.1% on top of tough prior year comparables.
- Operating margin of 9.8% expanded by 100 bps (adjusted operating margin of 10.3%, up 90 bps), driven by disciplined cost control.
- Completed four bolt-on acquisitions in the quarter; acquired an additional three post quarter end; and signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire an own brand lighting and fan business, subject to regulatory approval. Annualized revenue for these acquisitions is approximately $450 million.
- Share repurchases of $501 million during the quarter, with $918 million of our $2.0 billion buy back program completed during the first nine months of the year.
- Achieved primary listing move to the NYSE on May 12, 2022.
|Three months ended April 30,|
|US$ (In millions, except per share amounts)||2022||2021||Change|
|Gross margin||30.3%||30.3%||30.9%||30.9%||(60) bps||(60) bps|
|Operating margin||9.8%||10.3%||8.8%||9.4%||+100 bps||+90 bps|
|Earnings per share – diluted||2.50||2.50||1.65||1.78||+51.5%||+40.4%|
|Net debt2 : Adjusted EBITDA||0.8x||0.4x|
(1) The results are presented in accordance with U.S. GAAP on a continuing operations basis.
(2) The Company uses certain non-GAAP measures, which are not defined or specified under U.S. GAAP. See the section titled “Non-GAAP Reconciliations and Supplementary Information.”
Kevin Murphy, Ferguson CEO, commented:
“Our associates continued to drive outstanding service and support for our customers, delivering further market share gains and a strong financial performance. Disciplined cost control ensured earnings growth continued to outpace revenue growth as we ran up against strong prior year comparables. We continue to execute our strategy of investing for organic growth, consolidating our fragmented markets through acquisitions and returning capital to shareholders.
“Near term market demand remains supportive and we have increased our full year expectations for adjusted operating profit to $2.85 – $2.95 billion. While we are mindful of broader macroeconomic headwinds, our balanced business mix, agile business model and strong balance sheet position us well for the future.”
Summary of financial results
Net sales of $7,284 million were 23.1% ahead of last year, and the same on an organic basis, as a 1.7% contribution from acquisitions was fully offset by one fewer trading day and the impact of foreign exchange rates. Inflation in the third quarter was approximately 20%.
Gross margins of 30.3% were 60 basis points lower than last year driven primarily by strong prior year comparables and changes in business mix. Operating expenses continued to be well controlled, resulting in an operating margin increase of 100 basis points (adjusted operating margin +90 basis points). We remain focused on productivity and efficiencies while investing in our talented associates, supply chain capabilities and technology.
Reported operating profit was $712 million (adjusted operating profit: $747 million), 36.9% ahead of last year (adjusted operating profit growth: 33.6%) as strong revenue and good cost control led to continued operating leverage.
Reported earnings per share on a diluted basis was $2.50 (adjusted earnings per share – diluted: $2.50), an increase of 51.5% (adjusted earnings per share – diluted growth: 40.4%) with the increase due to the strength of the profit performance in the period and the lower share count arising from share buy back programs.
USA – third quarter
The US business grew net sales by 23.9% which comprised 23.7% organic growth with 1.8% from acquisitions offset by 1.6% from one fewer trading day.
Residential end markets, which comprise just over half of our US revenue, remained robust during the quarter. New residential housing start and permit activity has continued at elevated levels. Overall, our residential revenue grew by approximately 20% in the third quarter.
Non-residential end markets, representing just under half of our US revenue, experienced strong growth. Our non-residential revenue grew by approximately 29% in the third quarter.
Adjusted operating profit of $736 million was 31.4% or $176 million ahead of last year.
We completed four acquisitions during the quarter with annualized revenues of approximately $50 million. We acquired two bolt-ons within our residential building and remodel customer group, Lighting Plus, a lighting business based in Alabama, and Founders Kitchen & Bath, a cabinetry design and install business serving the greater Atlanta region. We also acquired Adirondack Piping Solutions and AP Supply Co., both industrial distributors of PVF products in upstate New York and the southern US respectively.
Canada – third quarter
Net sales grew by 8.8%, with organic revenue growth of 11.3% offset by 1.8% from one fewer trading day and a further 0.7% due to the adverse impact of foreign exchange rates. Both residential and non-residential end markets saw good growth and adjusted operating profit of $20 million grew by 66.7%, significantly outpacing revenue growth as a result of good operating leverage.
|Three months ended April 30,|
|US$ (In millions)||2022||2021||Change|
|Total net Sales||7,284||5,916||23.1%|
|Adjusted operating profit|
|Central and other costs||(9)||(13)|
|Total adjusted operating profit||747||559||33.6%|
Net debt at April 30, 2022 was $2,375 million and during the first nine months of the year we completed $918 million of the previously announced $2.0 billion share buy back.
On April 20, 2022, Ferguson closed a two-tranche $1.0 billion bond offering comprised of $300 million aggregate principal amount 4.25% notes due April 20, 2027 and $700 million aggregate principal amount 4.65% notes due April 20, 2032. The net proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes, including the repayment of existing debt.
We continue to see attractive growth opportunities through selective bolt-on acquisitions and subsequent to the quarter end we have completed an additional three acquisitions and signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire a fourth, subject to regulatory approval. These bolt-ons include Aaron & Company, a leading plumbing and HVAC distributor in New Jersey and Safe Step Canada and Pacific Northwest, an independent dealer licensed to sell and install our Safe Step products. We also acquired STE, giving us broader distribution rights for geotextile products that remove contaminants from polluted water. Additionally, we signed a definitive purchase agreement to acquire Minka Lighting, an own brand lighting and fan company, which we expect to complete in the fourth quarter subject to regulatory approval. These post quarter end acquisitions have additional annualized revenues of approximately $400 million.
There have been no other significant changes to the financial position of the Company.
U.S. primary listing
On March 10, 2022, the Company announced that the special resolution to enable a US primary listing on the New York Stock Exchange was passed with 95.49% support from the votes cast.
Following the vote, the primary listing on the New York Stock Exchange became effective on May 12, 2022, aligning our listing structure with the geographic location of our operations and associates.
Near term market demand remains supportive and we have increased our full year expectations for adjusted operating profit to $2.85 – $2.95 billion. While we are mindful of broader macroeconomic headwinds, our balanced business mix, agile business model and strong balance sheet position us well for the future.
For the complete press release, click here.
Ferguson plc is a leading value added distributor of plumbing and heating products to professional contractors operating in North America. Ongoing revenue for the year ended July 31, 2020 was $19.9 billion and ongoing underlying trading profit was $1.6 billion. Ferguson plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (LSE: FERG) and the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE:FERG) and is in the FTSE 100 index of listed companies. For more information, please visit www.fergusonplc.com
Brian Lantz – Vice President IR and Communications – 1 224 285 2410
Source: Ferguson plc