Kaydon 4Q profit falls, shares rise on dividend

Associated Press

ANN ARBOR, Mich. (AP) — Kaydon Corp., a maker of bearings and other industrial products, said Friday that its fourth-quarter net income fell 23 percent as its wind energy and military orders declined, and because the company had to pay costs related to a dispute it's having with a wind energy customer.

Results fell short of Wall Street predictions, but the company announced that it would pay shareholders an extra dividend of $10.50 per share apart from its regular quarterly dividend of 20 cents, driving its stock up 7 percent in late morning trading.

For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Kaydon earned $8.7 million, or 27 cents per share, down from $11.3 million, or 34 cents per share, in the same quarter in 2010.

The company paid $5.2 million in arbitration costs. Kaydon and one of its wind energy customers have been fighting over what Kaydon says is money owed for products it has made for the customer. The customer claimed the quality of Kaydon's products hurt its own products. Kaydon said it expects the arbitration to be concluded this year.

Excluding that and the cost of laying off employees during the quarter, the company said it posted an adjusted profit of 40 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 45 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

The company said that it's laying off employees ahead of the possible expiration of a renewable energy tax credit at the end of this year. Without that credit, its U.S. wind energy sales could suffer in the struggling renewable energy market.

Kaydon's wind energy sales fell 23 percent to $9.6 million. That was partly because about $7 million shipments that were scheduled for the October-December quarter were delayed until the first half of 2012, the company said.

But in the short term, Kaydon said it expects wind energy sales to grow. It's predicting a jump of at least 30 percent to $70 million or more in 2012 because customers' wind installations will likely pick up before the possible ending of the tax credit.

The company also said it is cautious about its military business because of uncertainty about defense spending. The Obama administration has proposed defense budget cuts.

Total revenue in the fourth quarter rose 3 percent to $108.1 million from $105 million, less than analysts' average prediction of $122.2 million. Fourth-quarter orders fell 16 percent to $84.6 million, mostly because of lower orders in the wind energy and military businesses.

The company said growth in its industrial business helped offset those declines.

For the full year 2011, profit fell to $49.3 million, or $1.52 per share, from $56 million, or $1.67 per share, in 2010. Revenue was almost unchanged at $460.1 million from $464 million.

Kaydon said that the special cash dividend of $10.50 will be paid on March 26 to shareholders of record as of March 5. The company said it will fund the $337 million dividend with cash and debt.

In morning trading, Kaydon shares rose $2.39 to $37.88. Over the past 52 weeks, Kaydon shares have traded between $26.45 and $40.64.

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