BLOOMINGTON, Minn. – The Toro Company (NYSE: TTC) on December 4 reported net earnings of $173.9 million, or $3.02 per share, on a net sales increase of 6.4 percent to $2.173 billion for its fiscal year ended Oct. 31, 2014. In fiscal 2013, the company delivered net earnings of $154.8 million, or $2.62 per share, on net sales of $2.041 billion.

For the fourth quarter, Toro reported net earnings of $10.9 million, or $0.19 per share, on a net sales increase of 8.3 percent to $414.1 million. In the comparable fiscal 2013 period, the company posted net earnings of $5 million on net sales of $382.4 million.
The company also announced that its board of directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.25 per share, a 25 percent increase from its previous quarterly dividend rate of $0.20 per share. This dividend is payable on January 12, 2015, to shareholders of record on December 23, 2014.

"Fiscal 2014 was a significant year for The Toro Company for many reasons," said Michael J. Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and chief executive officer. "We delivered record sales, operating earnings and earnings per share, which enabled us to successfully achieve our Destination 2014 revenue and profitability targets.

"We celebrated our Centennial and officially launched the company’s second century. We entered into and subsequently closed the largest acquisition in our history with the addition of the BOSS professional snow and ice management business. Finally, we returned almost $150 million to our shareholders through the payment of $45 million in dividends and the repurchase of more than 1.6 million shares of our common stock."

"I’d like to thank the entire team for their dedication and execution throughout the year. Their passion for innovation and customer service helped to drive retail sales across our portfolio. On the residential side of our business, we delivered double-digit revenue growth fueled by abundant snow conditions in key North American markets early in 2014 that generated strong in-season sales of our snow thrower products. Low field inventories and pent-up consumer demand set the stage for the robust snow pre-season that began late this summer and continues to date.

The residential business also saw gains from solid retail demand for our residential zero turn mowers, as homeowners continue to transition to these more efficient cutting platforms. Turning to our professional businesses, contractors who also benefited from the snow season made early investments in landscape maintenance equipment, helping to drive our sales.

New product features and favorable summer growing conditions provided additional momentum for the category. In golf, innovative new product offerings-including our new INFINITY sprinklers-helped us to expand our worldwide market-leading equipment and irrigation positions. We also continued to develop and grow our newer micro-irrigation, rental and specialty construction businesses."

"In addition to driving revenue growth, our enterprise focus on improving productivity and leveraging expenses is yielding results. It is the combination of all of these efforts that enabled us to deliver record results for the year and successfully complete our four-year Destination 2014 journey.

"I am proud of the levels of performance that our team was able to achieve through this initiative, including growing organic revenues more than $430 million over the four-years and establishing a new level of operating earnings performance at 12.1 percent of sales as of the end of fiscal 2014. None of that would have been possible without the remarkable contributions of all of our engaged employees and channel partners around the world."

"Looking ahead to fiscal 2015, we are cautiously optimistic. Our end markets are sound. Contractors will seek productivity-enhancing solutions for maintaining turf and managing snow and ice. Golf course renovations and development will progress in key markets. Around the world, customers will transition to more efficient methods of irrigation, particularly for agricultural use. Commercial and residential development and infrastructure improvements will continue, and homeowners will replace their lawn, snow and handheld products."

"We are well positioned to capitalize on market growth and drive share gains with new and innovative product offerings across our businesses and additional product placements with key customers. We are encouraged by expected retail demand but, as always, will keep a watchful eye on field inventory levels and other market conditions. We are excited about the addition of BOSS to our portfolio and are focused on a successful integration, which is progressing well and helped by the cultural alignment among our two companies.

We launched a new employee initiative, Destination PRIME, which will provide momentum to help us drive growth and further improve productivity over the next three years, while also continuing our century-long commitment to innovation, relationships and excellence. Despite our optimism, we are certainly mindful of the challenges that unfavorable weather and economic conditions can create for our businesses and customers. We will remain flexible and are prepared to make adjustments across the enterprise as necessary."

The company expects revenue growth for fiscal 2015 to be about 8 to 10 percent, and net earnings to be about $3.30 to $3.40 per share. For the first quarter, the company expects net earnings to be about $0.47 per share.

SEGMENT RESULTS

Professional
. Professional segment net sales for fiscal 2014 totaled $1.478 billion, up 3.7 percent over last year. Sales of landscape maintenance equipment increased on strong retail demand for our zero turn mowers and new products introduced during the year. Global micro irrigation sales increased with continued demand for more efficient irrigation solutions for agriculture. Ground engaging and rental equipment sales grew on increased demand for our products. Worldwide golf sales were up as existing golf courses continued to replace aging irrigation systems and equipment with our innovative product offerings, including our new INFINITY sprinklers, and new international golf course projects were awarded to us. For the fourth quarter, professional segment net sales were $268.9 million, up 5.1 percent from the comparable fiscal 2013 period.

. Professional segment earnings for fiscal 2014 totaled $276.3 million, up 8.6 percent from the prior year. For the fourth quarter, professional segment earnings were $31.6 million, up from $21.8 million in the comparable fiscal 2013 period.

Residential
. Residential segment net sales for fiscal 2014 were $672.4 million, up 13.1 percent from last year. Sales of our snow thrower products increased due to strong in-season retail demand driven by abundant snowfall across key North American markets early in fiscal 2014 and robust pre-season demand that began late this summer and continued through the end of our fiscal year. Sales of domestic residential zero turn riding products grew on continued retail demand for these mowing platforms. Increased demand for our handheld solutions also contributed to residential segment net sales for the fiscal year. Somewhat offsetting these increases were lower sales of our products in Australia due to unfavorable currency exchange rates and weather conditions. For the fourth quarter, residential segment net sales were $138.8 million, up 19 percent from the comparable fiscal 2013 period.

. Residential segment earnings for fiscal 2014 totaled $76.9 million, up 24 percent from fiscal 2013. For the fourth quarter, residential segment earnings were $16.3 million, up from $10.1 million in the comparable fiscal 2013 period.