LOS ANGELES Higher titanium shipments, improved distribution results and the contribution of new acquisitions helped RTI International Metals Inc. more than double its first-quarter earnings.
Net income totaled $5.6 million on sales that rose 34.8 percent to nearly $162.9 million. Titanium mill product shipments jumped 38.7 percent to 4.3 million pounds from 3.1 million pounds in the first three months of last year, although the average realized price fell 3 percent to $19.41 per pound from $20.
RTI said its backlog at the end of the quarter was $563 million, up 18.3 percent from $476 million at the end of 2011 and 60.9 percent higher than $350 million a year ago.
Boston-based investment group Cowen & Co. said RTIs first-quarter results showed "improving momentum."
During the quarter, Pittsburgh-based RTI completed its largest-ever acquisition, the $182.5-million purchase of Remmele Engineering Inc., a New Brighton, Minn.-based machining and engineering company geared to the aerospace, defense and medical markets.
The performance of all three of RTIs operating segments "exceeded our expectations" and these businesses are growing "while operational enhancements throughout our internal supply chain are taking hold," Dawne S. Hickton, vice chairwoman, president and chief executive officer, said.
RTIs Titanium Group, which includes its titanium production facilities, saw operating earnings rise 3.4 percent to $9 million in the first quarter, helped by a $3-million duty drawback accrual reversal that was offset by ongoing expenses associated with the production ramp-up of forging operations at RTIs new Martinsville, Va., plant.
First-quarter operating earnings by the Fabrication Group totaled $85,000 vs. a year-earlier operating loss as the addition of Remmele, as well as the recently acquired RTI Advanced Forming unit, contributed $24 million in incremental sales. But RTI said Fabrication Group results continued to be hampered by "slow demand" for seat tracks and other titanium components for the much-delayed Boeing 787 Dreamliner.
Meanwhile, growing titanium demand for commercial aerospace and a "favorable product mix" helped push operating earnings by RTIs Distribution Group up 98.4 percent to $3.9 million on a 32.1-percent boost in sales to $62.3 million.
Hickton forecast that RTIs full-year operating earnings would be in a range of $45 million to $50 million, after the impact of acquisition-related adjustments, up from $27.8 million last year.