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Knoll sees sequentially weak Q1

Thursday 4 February 2010

Office furniture maker Knoll Inc posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results, but said its first quarter will be sequentially weaker.
\"We expect improvement in demand in 2010 to be back-half loaded,\" Chief Executive Andrew Cogan said on a conference call with analysts.
Cogan said Knoll was seeing a greater pool of project activity than a year earlier, but added that most of it was not expected to have any effect on its results in the first half of 2010.
He said gross and operating margins will continue to be under pressure until the company sees some improvement in demand.
Knoll, along with peers such as Steelcase Inc (SCS.N) and Herman Miller (MLHR.O), has been hit by weak demand, high office vacancies and corporate downsizing, resulting from the weak economy.
According to latest industry data provided by Business and Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA), office furniture orders in December were down 12 percent, while shipments fell 20 percent.
Orders and shipments are expected to drop 2.3 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively, in 2010, according to BIFMA.
Knoll said backlog improved sequentially for the first time in six quarters, due mainly to its recently launched Generation work chair.
Backlog was $153 million at the end of the fourth quarter, up 26 percent from the third quarter.
Net income for the quarter fell 82 percent to $4.0 million, or 9 cents a share, from a year ago.
On an adjusted basis, the company earned 14 cents a share, while net sales fell 33 percent to $183.9 million.Shares of the company were trading down 13 cents at $11.52 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange

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