Profits up but sales soft at Sarasota's Helios Technologies

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Sarasota-based manufacturer lowers earnings guidance for rest of the year.

SARASOTA – While sales were lower than expected, earnings jumped during the second quarter at Helios Technologies Inc.

The Sarasota-based manufacturer of hydraulics and electronics posted net income of $17.3 million, or 54 cents per diluted share, compared with $6.8 million, or 22 cents, one year earlier.

The latest earnings were driven higher by the 2018 acquisitions of the Italy-based Faster Group and Australia’s Custom Fluidpower.

Helios, formerly known as Sun Hydraulics Corp., reported non-GAAP net income of 65 cents per share, which beat Wall Street forecasts by 1 cent.

Net sales for the April-June period came to $143.84 million, a 6% increase over the year.

“We are very pleased with the quality of earnings produced in both segments of the business, even on the lower than anticipated sales,” Helios president/CEO Wolfgang Dangel stated in the earnings announcement. “While neither segment was able to drive top line sequential growth, margins were up across the board compared with the first quarter of 2019.

“From an economic standpoint, clearly there is softening in many markets globally. We believe that some of the lower demand is resulting from macroeconomic factors like the trade war and general geopolitical uncertainty, while the remainder is due to the economic cycle,” he said.

The company has lowered its earnings guidance for 2019. It now expects revenue of $565 million to $575 million, compared with the earlier forecast of $580 million to $590 million. Projected non-GAAP per-share earnings are down 15 cents to between $2.40 and $2.50. Dangel pointed to changes in foreign currency exchange rates and softening end-market conditions, exacerbated by the potential impact of recently announced tariffs.

Helios is one of the largest manufacturing operations and publicly traded companies in Southwest Florida. It most recently employed 1,660 worldwide, including 715 at its three plants and corporate headquarters in Sarasota and Manatee counties.

In June its Sun Hydraulics subsidiary opened a manufacturing facility in Kunshan, Jiangsu Province, China, its third in the Asia-Pacific region. Sun operates three facilities in the Sarasota-Manatee region and two in Europe.

Shares were selling Tuesday mid-morning for $43.19, up 7% on the Nasdaq.

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