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‘Robust’ aerospace market bolsters PCC

Keywords: Tags  aerospace, industrial gas turbines, precision castparts, mark donegan, PCC, Frank Haflich

LOS ANGELES — Gains in its aerospace and industrial gas turbine units helped push Precision Castparts Corp.’s (PCC) fiscal fourth-quarter earnings up 24 percent.

The Portland, Ore.-based producer of aircraft, energy and industrial products posted net income of $336.1 million for the three months ended April 1, compared with $271 million in the year-ago quarter, on sales that were up 16.3 percent to $1.95 billion.

For the full year, net income was up 20.8 percent at $1.22 billion, while sales rose 16 percent to $7.21 billion.

"The commercial aerospace market is robust and shows no sign of slowing down for several years," Mark Donegan, PCC’s chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement. He added that the ramp-up of Boeing Co.’s new 787 Dreamliner program—which was delayed for three years before the first Dreamliner was delivered in September—is "just beginning to get exciting."

PCC also disclosed that it faced a "headwind" during the quarter due to a Jan. 30 explosion and fire at its Muskegon, Mich.-based Cannon-Muskegon Group unit that shut down a melting furnace for casting nickel ingot for "almost a month." The company also said it was incurring higher maintenance expenses associated with the upcoming installation of casting furnaces "to meet growing OEM (original equipment manufacturer) and aftermarket demand."

Aerospace made up 64 percent of PCC’s fourth-quarter sales, up from 57 percent last year, while the power market eased to 21 percent, down slightly from 22 percent, the company said. General industrial markets fell to 15 percent of sales from 21 percent previously.

Donegan said two "significant orders" with major oil and gas producers, along with several smaller orders, will provide about $200 million in incremental sales in fiscal 2013. He also pointed out that PCC’s purchase of Janesville, Wis.-based tubular producer RathGibson LLC, which closed two days into the first fiscal quarter, will help the company "offer more comprehensive bids" on projects with severe drilling environments. RathGibson’s specialties include nickel alloy products.

Among PCC’s operating segments, the biggest percentage gain was posted in fasteners, which now includes the former Primus International Inc., a Bellevue, Wash.-based supplier of components and assemblies to the aerospace industry, which PCC bought for $900 million in August. The Primus acquisition reflected PCC’s growing involvement in airframes and aerostructures, a departure from its traditional engine-related markets. The fastener segment’s operating profit in the quarter jumped by 32.9 percent to $139.5 million on a 41.5-percent boost in sales to $487.9 million.

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