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Steelcase earnings up, further cost-cuts planned amid flat sales outlook

Friday 28 March 2008

Steelcase Inc. grew earnings a little more than 24 percent during the 2008 fiscal year, as sales increased 10 percent.
In reporting annual and quarterly results, the office-furniture maker also said it expects flat sales or a small decrease in the present quarter and plans to accelerate cost-cutting efforts.
\"From an operational perspective, the fundamentals of our business remain strong,\" Chief Financial Officer David Sylvester said. \"However, economic factors suggest our industry may continue to moderate in the near-term and face increasing inflationary various headwinds at the same time.\"
The Grand Rapid-based Steelcase [NYSE: SCS] today reported net income of $133.2 million, or 93 cents per share, on sales of $3.42 billion for the 2008 fiscal year that ended Feb. 29. That compares with net income of $106.9 million, or 72 cents per share, on sales of $3.09 billion for the prior fiscal year.
FY 2008 \"marked another year of improved profitability and fitness of the business,\" President and CEO Jim Hackett said.
The office-furniture maker reported quarterly net income of $30.6 million, or 22 cents per share, up just 4.4 percent from the $29.3 million, or 20 cents per share, during the same period a year earlier that included a $6.1 million after-tax charge.
Quarterly sales grew 15.7 percent to $901.3 million from $778.4 million. Sales in North America alone grew at a lower but still strong 9.7 percent to $492.3 million.
Despite the solid report, the company said it plans to accelerate cost-cutting efforts over the next nine to 12 months to save $25 million.
The actions are planned amid a slowing national economy and industry outlook that calls for flat or slightly lower sales in 2009.
Steelcase aims to improve margins by \"rebalancing our work force to better align with our growth opportunities,\" improving manufacturing operations and improving profitability at its PolyVision unit, Sylvester said.
In the current first quarter of FY 2009, Steelcase expects flat revenues or a two percent decrease from the $808.5 million of a year ago and net income of 14 cents to 19 cents per year, versus 23 cents per share in the first quarter of FY 2008. The company expects to take a $7 milion charge in the quarter.

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