Sales Surge To Record Highs At Multiple MN Companies

3M, Tennant Company, Graco, Proto Labs, Piper Jaffray, and Deluxe Corporation experienced particularly strong growth in their latest quarters.
Sales Surge To Record Highs At Multiple MN Companies

A slew of publicly traded Minnesota companies reported quarterly financial results on Thursday—and several of them hit record numbers.

Maplewood-based 3M Company, for example, reported record quarterly sales of $8.1 billion for the three months that ended June 30. That’s up 5 percent from the same period a year ago.

3M saw organic sales growth across all of its diverse business segments, and its electronics and energy division performed particularly well. That helped lift quarterly profits by nearly 6 percent, to $1.27 billion. Its quarterly profit was in line with analysts’ expectations, while sales were slightly higher, and the company also reaffirmed its previous outlook for the full year; it expects earnings of $7.30 to $7.55 per share.

“Organic sales growth was again positive across all businesses and geographic regions, which helped drive double-digit growth in earnings per share,” 3M Chairman, President, and CEO Inge Thulin said in a statement. “Strong productivity fueled increased growth investments, and operating margins increased year-on-year to nearly 23 percent.”

Thulin also pointed out that the company is “deploying capital more aggressively” and noted that 3M recently announced plans to buy out the remaining 25 percent stake in its Japan-based subsidiary Sumitomo 3M for about $885 million.

Tennant Company, the Golden Valley-based maker of clean equipment and products, said its second-quarter sales increased 9.4 percent, to a record $219.1 million.

President and CEO Chris Killingstad said in a statement that sales rose across all of Tennant’s product categories, “with strong contributions from sales through our direct selling channel and new product launches.” The company has a goal of reaching $1 billion in revenue by 2017.

Tennant’s earnings totaled $15.5 million, up from $14.3 million during the second quarter of 2013.

Minneapolis-based Graco, Inc., which manufactures systems that manage fluids and coatings for industrial and commercial applications, said Wednesday that it hit a quarterly record for both sales and earnings.

Sales increased 13 percent to $322.5 million, while profits climbed 15 percent to $66.2 million. Much like 3M and Tennant, Graco said that its sales grew across all segments. Its industrial and contractor segments performed particularly well, seeing double-digit percentage growth.

“Demand levels around the world firmed in the second quarter, as we experienced solid growth in all segments and geographies,” Graco President and CEO Patrick McHale said in a statement.

Maple Plain-based Proto Labs, Inc., which specializes in quick-turn manufacturing of custom parts for prototyping or short-run production, said its second-quarter revenue increased 33 percent to reach a record $52.9 million.

The growth was fueled by a 19 percent jump in the number of product developers Proto Labs served—and the company also generated $2.1 million in revenue from 3D printing. That extra revenue stems from a recent $38 million acquisition, which marked Proto Labs' first foray into 3D printing.

Proto Labs' second-quarter profits hit a record $11 million, and President and CEO Vicki Holt said the business “performed wonderfully this past quarter and our employees executed on many fronts.” The fast-growing company also recently expanded in Plymouth.

Minneapolis-based Piper Jaffray Companies' net revenues shot up by 70 percent to $170 million from $99.77 million in the corresponding period last year.

“We are pleased to report very strong results for the second quarter,” CEO and Chairman Andrew Duff said in a statement. “Our Asset Management and Investment Banking businesses led the way with strong relative performance in favorable market conditions.”

Piper's net earnings grew dramatically, from $2.49 million to $18.21 million. When excluding certain items, earnings from continuing operations totaled $18.81 million, or $1.25 per share, up by an impressive 271 percent from $5.07 million, or $0.32 per share. Piper Jaffray's stock, however, was trading down slightly late Thursday morning.

Several other Minnesota companies reported quarterly results on Wednesday. Below is a sampling and how they performed:

Deluxe Corporation: Second-quarter revenue climbed 6.3 percent to $405.4 million, while net income grew 3.9 percent to $50.1 million. The strong quarterly performance led Deluxe to raise its full-year outlook for both sales and earnings.

Supervalu: First-quarter net sales dipped slightly to $5.23 billion but beat analysts' expectations, and the company saw growth at its Save-A-Lot chain. Supervalu reported a profit of $43 million, or 17 cents a share, down from $85 million, or 34 cents a share—but earnings from continuing operations actually rose to $0.18 cents per share from $0.14.

Life Time Fitness, Inc.: Revenue grew 6 percent to $326.6 million from the same period a year ago. Net income, however, totaled $29.8 million, or $0.76 per share, down from $33.2 million, or $0.80 per share, from last year's second quarter. Chairman, President, and CEO Bahram Akradi called the latest quarter “challenging,” saying that Life Time “faced unexpected erosion of membership levels at some centers.”

The stocks of most of the companies listed above were trading up late Thursday morning, although Life Time's shares were down about 9.5 percent on the news of its lower earnings.