Armstrong World Industries has reported a fourth quarter operating income from continuing operations of $35.9 million, down 17% over the 2013 period impacted by a non-cash intangible asset impairment charge of $10 million, according to the company.

"We delivered fourth quarter and full year results within our guidance range when adjusting for the exit of our European flooring business," said Matt Espe, CEO. "Our worldwide ceilings business delivered yet another record quarterly and full year earnings result despite the slow pace of the recovery. As we separately disclosed, I'm also pleased to announce that our board has unanimously approved a plan to separate Armstrong into two independent industry-leading public companies, which we believe will enhance the strategic, operational and financial flexibility of both businesses and create value for our shareholders."

Segment highlights include:

Excluding the unfavorable impact of foreign exchange of approximately $10 million, net sales for the company's building products increased slightly over a very strong base period as sales in the fourth quarter of 2013 were up over 9%. When looking at the net sales comparison for the fourth quarter of 2014 versus the fourth quarter of 2013, favorable price and mix offset the impact of lower volumes, primarily in the Americas.

Resilient flooring net sales increased slightly, driven by positive mix performance in the Americas and volume growth in the Pacific Rim, which more than offset lower volumes in the Americas. Including the unfavorable impact from foreign exchange of approximately $1 million, operating income improved as strong productivity and favorable mix more than offset higher input costs and the margin impact of lower volumes. 

Unallocated corporate expense of $15.7 million decreased from $19.2 million in the prior year due to lower spending across corporate functions and lower incentive compensation accruals when compared to the prior year. 

"We anticipate improving market conditions in the U.S. will support modest sales growth despite some anticipated pressure from foreign exchange in our international operations," said Dave Schulz, Armstrong's CFO. "While earnings are expected to be lower than 2014, the investments we are making will position our businesses to succeed as two independent industry-leading public companies and benefit 2016 and beyond."

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