Report: Local corporations doing well
The big three publicly traded corporations headquartered in Shenandoah and Frederick counties announced good news for investors this week.
Trex and Shentel announced increased performance for the fourth quarter of 2014, while the First National Corporation announced it would pay dividends to its investors based on its fourth quarter performance.
Trex, a Winchester-based manufacturer of wood-alternative decking and railing products, announced it had net sales of $74.2 million in the fourth quarter, with a net income of $5.1 million. A company’s net income is the profit after subtracting the cost of manufacturing, administrative expense, interest expense and taxes from its net sales.
During the same period in 2013, the company had net sales of $63.8 million and a net income of $15.1 million. According to a Security and Exchange Commission filing, the company received a $10.8 million tax credit, thus increasing the net income for that quarter.
During the year, the company had $391.6 million in sales, a 14.3 percent increase over 2013. In terms of net income, the company made $41.5 million in 2014, a 20 percent increase over 2013.
Diluted earnings per share during the fourth quarter, which is the company’s net income divided by the amount of shares in the market, was 16 cents, 29 cents less than 2013.
However, when considering the company’s net income without the tax benefit in 2013, the diluted earnings per share were 13 cents during that quarter.
For the year, the company’s diluted share per earning was $1.27 per share, while in 2013 it was $1.01.
Jim Cline, CFO for Trex, said the company’s improved performance was a result of expansions into New England and lean manufacturing techniques.
“During 2014, we expanded our distribution into the Northeast and as part of that expansion, we were able to pick up a number of additional dealers and lumberyards,” Cline said.
He added, “We also have cost reduction initiatives dating back to 2008, which include putting more product through the production line at a fast rate and having a better yield; in other words, the number of good boards versus bad.”
Cline said the company also took more of the market share over competitors, with a 14 percent increase in sales over competitors that grew in the single digits. He said so far, the first quarter of 2015 has had a strong start.
“We expect our sales in the first quarter to be about $120 million. That would be up 19 percent over 2013,” Cline said.
Shentel, an Edinburg-based telecommunications company, announced it had net sales of $82.8 million during the fourth quarter, a 6.2 percent increase over 2013, and a net income of $8.6 million, a 29 percent increase over the 2013 fourth quarter.
For the year, the company saw $326.9 in net sales, a 5.8 percent increase over 2013. In terms of net income, in 2014 the company made $33.8 million, a 14.5 percent increase over 2013.
The diluted earnings per share during the fourth quarter were 35 cents, 8 cents more than the fourth quarter of 2013. For the year, the company closed out with diluted earnings per share of $1.39, a 16-cent increase over 2013.
Among reasons cited for the increased performance was growth in wireless, cable and landline revenue, said Adele Skolit, CFO for Shentel.
Skolit said looking into 2015, the company is already starting strong.
“We’ve got some good opportunities left in our markets. For instance in cable, we are having success in selling high-speed data and voice service and we expected that to continue,” Skolit said.
Skolit added, “In wireless, while we face a little headwind in revenue as a result of the Sprint “Cut your rate in half” discount, we are more than compensating that in terms of reduced expense for subsidizing handsets at the moment … we might see a slight impact in our wireless margin, but not a significant one.”
First National Corporation
The First National Corporation, the Strasburg-based parent company of First Bank, announced it will pay quarterly dividends to shareholders who have held stock before March 6 on March 20, at a rate of 2.5 cents per share.
First Bank is undergoing a $377.3 million acquisition of six banks in the Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia. First Bank President Scott Harvard said the decision to pay dividends is part of a balancing act between keeping investors happy and using the company’s earnings to expand.
“We’ve been paying this rate for about the last six or seven quarters,” Harvard said. “Historically, we’ve paid higher dividends when growth prospects weren’t good but earnings were good and we’ve also paid as low as zero, like during the Great Recession.”
Harvard added, “We feel like it’s a pretty solid dividend, given our growth prospects and with the expansion we’ve got going down the Shenandoah Valley.”
Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or firstname.lastname@example.org