Masco Corp., the parent company of paint and coatings manufacturers Behr and Masterchem, reported a first-quarter loss from continuing operations of 2 cents per share, compared to a loss of 24 cents per share for the first quarter of 2009. Sales for the quarter rose 3%, to $1.9 billion.
The company’s net loss for the quarter was $7 million, compared to a loss of $81 million for the first quarter of 2009.
The results include after-tax costs and charges of $14 million related to continuing restructuring actions, including plant closings and work-force reductions, the company said. After-tax charges in the first quarter of 2009 for similar actions were $24 million.
The company does not break out results related specifically to its Behr and Masterchem coatings businesses. For the company’s Decorative Architectural Products segment, sales for the quarter were $389 million, a 1% increase from the prior-year period. The segment’s operating profit rose 13.8%, to to $87 million.
The company said results were positively affected by increased sales volume of plumbing products and windows, a more favorable product mix of paints and stains, and improved selling prices and commodity costs. Also contributing to the improved results were business rationalizations and other cost-savings initiatives, the company said. Partially offsetting those effects were lower sales volume of installation and other services and lower selling prices for certain products.
Sales in North American were flat, while international sales rose 16%, the company said. CEO Tim Wadhams said that, excluding the benefit from currency translations, sales increased modestly from the first quarter of 2009, marking the company’s first positive quarterly sales comparison in the last several years. He said business activity picked up as the weather improved in both North America and Europe, adding that the company has “strong momentum going into the second quarter, particularly on the retail side of the business.”
The company said it continues “to focus on the rationalization of our businesses, including business consolidations, plant closures, headcount reductions, system implementations, and other initiatives.”
Wadhams said the company anticipates that business conditions in 2010 will continue to show modest improvement compared to 2009. “While we are concerned about the impact of current unemployment levels, foreclosure activity, and access to financing, we believe that housing starts will improve in 2010 and will increase to a range of 600,000 to 700,000 units from 554,000 units in 2009,” he said. Expenditures on repair and remodel activity also are expected to improve modestly in 2010 from 2009.
“We are confident that the long-term fundamentals for the new home construction and home improvement markets are positive,” Wadhams said.