Demand, expense management leads to record 1Q results for Bloomington’s Donaldson

Strong demand and careful expense management helped Bloomington-based Donaldson report record first quarter results and led to raising financial guidance for the remainder of the fiscal year.

“I am proud of the dedication of our employees as they navigated through supply chain constraints and inflationary headwinds, while also executing on our strategic priorities,” said Tod Carpenter, Donaldson’s chief executive, in a news release.

The filtration company worked through rising costs for transportation, raw materials and labor to earn $77.1 million, or 61 cents a share, in the quarter ending Oct. 31. That compares with $61.9 million, or 48 cents a share, in the same quarter last year.

Revenue grew 19.5% to $760.9 million, with a 20.9% increase in its engine products segment and a 16.6% increase from the industrial products unit.

Analysts expected the company to earn 55 cents a share on revenue of $745 million. Shares were down about 2% Wednesday on a day when the markets as a whole lost value.

The strongest performance for the quarter was in the off-road business, part of the engine products segment. Off-road sales increase 44.9% in the quarter from increased production of those vehicles and also new emission standards in Europe.

The better than expected first quarter sales led Donaldson to increase its outlook. Revenue for the fiscal year, which ends July 31, 2022, is now expected to grow 8% to 12%, up from previous guidance of a 5% to 10% increase. Earnings are now expected in the range $2.57 to $2.73 a share, up from the previous expectation of $2.50 to $2.66 a share.

The increased guidance includes a rising outlook for both the engine products and industrial units, as well as price increases the company anticipates making to offset additional inflationary pressures.

After the quarter ended, Donaldson closed on two small acquisitions. The company paid $4 million for New Hope-based P-A Industrial Services. And last week, it closed on a $46 million acquisition of Solaris Biotechnology, a maker of bioprocessing equipment used in food and beverage, biotechnology and life sciences industry.

Donaldson has identified life sciences as a key strategic growth area and has been making strides internally the last several years to build it. Carpenter noted the Solaris acquisition in the company’s earnings call, saying it is the first in its “string of pearls” acquisition strategy for that area.

Solaris, with 30 employees, is based in Porto Mantovano, Italy, and has U.S. operations in Berkeley, Calif. The company makes bioreactors and has some foundational filtration capabilities that Donaldson does not have.

“Solaris is the first inorganic step in our journey to create a life sciences business. We are excited about the value we can add with our global market reach, science and technology, filtration capabilities and our ability to invest in future growth,” Carpenter said on the call. “This combined with Solaris’ market reputation and product portfolio are a winning combination.”