MIAMI, Fla. — Watsco, Inc. (NYSE: WSO) reported record results for the second quarter and six months ended June 30, 2017. The results reflect continued investment in a variety of technologies to revolutionize Watsco’s customer-experience, create a data-driven culture, to empower more  insightful decision-making and enhance productivity and operational efficiency. The Company has also made additional investments in products and people to grow and develop market share for supplier partners.

Second Quarter Results

Key performance metrics:

  • 14% increase in earnings per share to a record $2.07
  • 10% increase in operating income to a record $129 million
  • 40 basis-point expansion in operating margins to 10.1%
  • 30 basis-point improvement in gross profit margin
  • 10 basis-point reduction in SG&A as a percentage of sales

Sales trends:

  • 5% sales growth to a record $1.28 billion
  • 7% increase in HVAC equipment (67% of sales), including 8% growth in the U.S.
  • 2% increase in other HVAC products (28% of sales)
  • 3% growth in commercial refrigeration products (5% of sales)

Albert H. Nahmad, Watsco’s Chairman and CEO stated: “Our second quarter performance produced the highest sales and profits of any quarter in Watsco’s history. Earnings growth and margin expansion were driven by a combination of solid sales growth, improved selling margins and operating efficiencies.”

Mr. Nahmad added: “We believe technology changes progressing in our industry will accelerate and our industry-specific focus, scale and leadership position will serve us well.  In time, we believe peers and competitors will realize that Watsco is an attractive succession plan and join forces with us to adapt and evolve in the changing environment. In this regard, we continue to actively seek acquisitions and investments to grow our network and leverage investments across an expanding enterprise.”

First-Half Results

Key performance metrics:

  • 10% increase in earnings per share to a record $2.80
  • 6% increase in operating income to a record $178 million
  • 20 basis-point expansion in operating margins to 8.3%
  • 20 basis-point improvement in gross profit margin
  • Flat SG&A as a percentage of sales

Sales trends:

  • 4% sales growth to a record $2.15 billion
  • 5% increase in HVAC equipment (66% of sales)
  • 1% increase in other HVAC products (29% of sales)
  • 4% growth in commercial refrigeration products (5% of sales)

Mr. Nahmad added: “First-half results reflect further investments in technology and additional headcount of approximately 150 customer-facing employees intended to enhance long-term sales growth and market share. We remain optimistic that 2017 will be a record year for our company.”

Acquisition of 35% of Russell Sigler, Inc.

On June 21, 2017, Watsco’s Carrier Enterprise business unit, a joint venture between Watsco and Carrier Corporation, acquired 35% ownership of Russell Sigler, Inc. (RSI).  RSI was established in 1950 and is one of the largest HVAC distributors in North America with annual sales of approximately $650 million.  It serves over 10,000 customers from 30 locations throughout Arizona, California, Idaho, New Mexico, Nevada and portions of Texas. Products sold include residential and commercial HVAC equipment manufactured by Carrier as well as parts, supplies and accessories sourced from over 700 other vendors. Consideration for the purchase was $63.6 million paid in cash (the Company contributed 80%, or $50.9 million). Carrier Enterprise has the exclusive right to purchase shares if and when any current RSI owner wishes to sell shares in the future.

Acquisition of Joint Venture Interests

In February 2017, Watsco raised its ownership of Carrier Enterprise Northeast LLC, also a joint venture with Carrier Corporation, to 80% for approximately $43 million in cash. The incremental investment builds on a November 2016 transaction, which increased Watsco’s controlling interest from 60% to 70%. Carrier Enterprise Northeast had sales in 2016 of approximately $500 million from 41 locations in the northeastern United States and 12 locations in Mexico. First-half results include a contribution of 8 cents per share from the increased ownership interest.

Technology Strategy

Watsco is actively transforming its business into the digital age by investing in scalable platforms for mobile apps, e-commerce, business intelligence and supply chain optimization. Strategic goals are to further strengthen Watsco’s leadership position, accelerate sales and profit growth, increase the speed and convenience of serving customers and extend the Company’s reach into new geographies and sales channels. Technology-related spending over the last twelve months was approximately $23 million.

Dividends & Cash Flow

In April 2017, Watsco’s Board of Directors approved a 19% increase in its annual dividend to $5.00 per share on each outstanding share of its Common and Class B common stock. The increase will be reflected in the Company’s dividend payment on July 31, 2017.

Watsco has paid dividends for over 40 consecutive years with the philosophy of sharing increasing amounts of cash flow through higher dividends while maintaining a conservative financial position. Future increases in dividends, if any, will be considered in light of investment opportunities, cash flow, general economic conditions and the Company’s overall financial condition.

The Company has targeted cash flow from operations to exceed net income in 2017. From 2000 to 2016, Watsco’s operating cash flow was approximately $1.9 billion compared to net income of approximately $1.8 billion, surpassing the Company’s stated goal of generating cash flow in excess of net income.