Mohawk Industries third quarter record net earnings of $270 million and diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $3.62, a 25% increase versus prior year.
Excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges, net earnings were $261 million and EPS was $3.50, a 17% increase over last year's third quarter adjusted EPS. Net sales for the third quarter of 2016 were $2.3 billion, up 7% versus the prior year's third quarter as reported and on a legacy basis applying constant days and currency rates. For the third quarter of 2015, net sales were $2.15 billion, net earnings were $215 million and EPS was $2.89; excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges, net earnings were $222 million and EPS was $2.98.
For the nine months ending Oct. 1, net earnings and EPS were $696.6 million and $9.34, respectively. Net earnings excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges were $697.1 million and EPS was $9.35, an increase of 27% over the nine-month period adjusted EPS result in 2015. For the nine month period, net sales were $6.8 billion, an increase of 12% versus prior year as reported and 5% on a legacy basis applying constant currency rates. For the nine-month period ending Oct. 3, 2015, net sales were $6.1 billion, net earnings were $424 million and EPS was $5.73; excluding restructuring, acquisition and other charges, net earnings and EPS were $546 million and $7.38.
Commenting on Mohawk Industries' third quarter performance, Jeffrey Lorberbaum, chairman and CEO, said, "During the period, our growth strengthened and our margins continue to expand compared to the last year. Our strategy of investing in our existing business as well as synergistic acquisitions continues to deliver record results. Our earnings per share for the period were an all-time record for the company, marking the tenth consecutive quarter that Mohawk has delivered a year-over-year record quarterly EPS. Our operating margin rose to an all-time record of 16.5% or 16.0% on an adjusted basis, an increase of 160 basis points, as a result of higher sales volume and productivity.
"Our organization continues to create new products with greater value for the consumer, to introduce unique ideas that enhance our processes and to invest in technology and equipment that improve our cost, quality and service. The four acquisitions we completed in 2015 contributed to our results as we enhanced their performance by upgrading their offerings, expanding their distribution and improving their productivity. As expected, our SG&A costs, excluding restructuring, integration and other charges, as a percentage of sales improved by 60 basis points as our investments in sales personnel, marketing and merchandising increased our sales and mix.
"In many of our product categories and geographies, our operations are running at or near capacity. These include all of our global ceramic, laminate and sheet vinyl assets. Additionally, we are currently selling all of the LVT we are manufacturing even as we continue to increase our production capacity in the U.S. and Europe. To meet our growing customer demand, our capital investments this year will be the highest in our history with almost $650 million allocated to additional capacity, more efficient assets and new products. Our strong results have increased our cash flow, enabling the expansion of our capacities and pursuit of attractive opportunities. We continue to explore potential acquisitions from around the globe that complement our business and expand our geographic reach or product portfolio.
"For the quarter, our Global Ceramic Segment sales were up 4% as reported; on a constant days and currency basis sales were up 6%. Operating income for the segment rose approximately 13% to an operating margin of 16.5%. Our North American ceramic sales trends improved from the second to the third quarter and operating margins expanded over last year. New home construction and the commercial sector outperformed residential remodeling and sales growth through our service centers exceeded other channels. Our new Tennessee ceramic plant is fully operational with improving throughput and new differentiated products. Our sales in Mexico continue to outpace the strong market and we are broadening our product offering and distribution ahead of the expansion of our Salamanca plant, which will be operational by late 2017. Our European ceramic business grew significantly from our sales and product strategies that satisfy local markets and consumer preferences. In Western Europe, our investments in modern equipment have allowed us to bring unique products to market and expand our margins and mix. We increased the capacity at our Bulgarian facility and upgraded the style and design of our products which enhanced our mix. In Russia, our sales improved on a local basis as we increased participation in the new construction sector and expanded our distribution through investments in owned and franchised stores.
"During the quarter, our Flooring North America Segment's sales were up 6% as reported or 7% on a constant days basis. Operating income grew 35% to a margin of 17% as reported or excluding restructuring, integration and other charges, to a margin of 15%. Both our hard and soft surface flooring increased with hard surface growing faster. Our strong commercial carpet and rug sales offset softer residential carpet which was impacted by polyester growth and pressure on commodities. Product innovation continues to drive our business and recent introductions comprised about one-third of our soft surface sales during the period. Our commercial carpet performance continues to strengthen with all end markets growing. We have expanded our commercial sales force and are increasing our participation in individual projects and large national accounts. We announced a residential and commercial carpet price increase of 3% to 5% for January 2017 to offset costs. Our rug sales grew as we introduced new fashion-forward collections and entered new categories with outdoor rugs and utility mats. Our hard surface sales continue to grow significantly with expanded margins. Improvements in our LVT production continue to increase our capacity and broaden our product offering. We are completing our new engineered wood plant, which will allow us to introduce larger sizes with unique finishes. The expansion of our laminate capacity in 2017 will help to satisfy increasing demand for our premium collections with superior performance and realistic visuals.
"For the quarter, our Flooring Rest of the World Segment's sales were up 15% as reported; on a constant days and currency basis, legacy sales were up 8%. Operating income grew 47% as reported to a margin of 18% and increased 41% on a constant currency basis, excluding restructuring and integration charges, to a margin of approximately 19%. Our laminate business continues to grow on the strength of our premium Quick-Step and Pergo brands. We are leveraging the strong performance of our 2016 laminate introductions by expanding the designs and sizes we offer across all brands. Our European and Russian laminate facilities are operating near capacity with expansions planned for Europe and Russia in 2018. Our LVT sales are increasing dramatically and our margins are expanding as our product mix and productivity improve. To alleviate capacity constraints, we are modifying our LVT equipment and processes to further increase production speeds and we are supplementing our collections with sourced products. Sales of our insulation boards continue to grow, although lower material costs and manufacturing improvements are being offset by competition and unfavorable exchange rates. We are increasing prices based on market conditions to offset currency fluctuations.
"Today, Mohawk is in the best position in the company's history. This year, we are investing at our highest level ever to meet increasing demand around the globe. We are preparing for future growth by expanding our differentiated product offerings and increasing the capacity and efficiency of our operations. With our continued investments in manufacturing technology, we are introducing distinctive collections to improve our sales and enhance our mix. We are aggressively implementing productivity improvements across the enterprise in all facets of our business and we are bringing new capacity online to support our growth. This year, our strong operating results have expanded our cash flow and reduced our leverage to historically low levels. We are currently exploring numerous investment options to further our expansion, including green field opportunities and acquisitions to broaden our geographic presence and product portfolio. Taking these factors into account, our EPS guidance for the fourth quarter is $3.16 to $3.25, which represents a 12% to 15% increase over our fourth quarter 2015 EPS, excluding any restructuring charges."
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