LOS ANGELES A surge in
water transmission business, due in part to a large Texas
project, offset an unprofitable fourth quarter in tubular
products for Northwest Pipe Co.
The Vancouver, Wash.-based pipe
producer posted net income of $4.5 million for the three months
ended Dec. 31, triple earnings of nearly $1.5 million in the
same period a year earlier, on sales that jumped 16.3 percent
to $136.19 million. Full-year net income of more than $16.2
million was up 28.3 percent from $12.7 million in 2011 on a
2.5-percent increase in sales to $524.5 million.
fourth-quarter net income all came from its water transmission
group, which had operating earnings of $15.2 million, more than
double nearly $6 million a year earlier, on sales that
increased 42.7 percent to $88.2 million from $61.8 million.
In contrast, the tubular
products segment suffered a quarterly operating loss of $3.7
million vs. earnings of $2.2 million a year earlier on sales
that fell 13.3 percent to almost $48 million from $55.3
"As expected, we saw lower
margins in the tubular products segment in 2012 compared to
2011 with the competition from increased quantities of imported
energy pipe, particularly in the third and fourth quarters,"
according to president and chief executive officer Scott
Montross, who also cited declining drilling activity due to
lower natural gas prices.
But Montross said the water
transmission group had its "highest quarter ever" in both sales
and gross profit, due in part to production for the Lake Texoma
project in Texas. Northwest Pipe last year won a contract to
provide 34,000 tons of 84-inch and 96-inch welded steel pipe
for the North Texas Municipal Water District, which includes a
70-mile pipeline running from Lake Texoma to a water treatment
facility at Lake Lavon. The job, which is scheduled to run
through mid-2013, is expected to generate revenue of $69
amm.com, July 25).
Montross expects the water
transmission group to show first-quarter profitability similar
to the fourth quarter, although on lower sales, while tubular
products will be "near breakeven" due to continuing import