Genuine Parts Co. faced an unusually tough third quarter: It lost out to Staples Inc. in its bid to merge its S.P. Richards Co. with Essendant Corp.
The company also took a hit on its facilities in the Carolinas from Hurricane Florence; and weathered operating cost hikes related to increased freight fees, wages and tariffs on goods sourced from China.
What’s more on Aug. 20, GPC announced the sudden death of the president and CEO of its Motion Industries subsidiary, Tim Breen. The quarter was barely over when, on Oct. 1, Hurricane Michael struck its facilities in the Florida Panhandle.
But there was also positive news.
Q3 revenue at GPC’s Automotive Products Group—including its flagship Napa Auto Parts Stores and NapaOnline.com—surged 23.3% year-over-year to $2.6 billion.
Sales in its Industrial Parts Group—comprised of both online and offline operations of industrial and electrical products distributors Motion Industries and EIS Inc.—increased 8.3% to $1.6 billion.
And though sales rose only 1.3% to $496 million at GPC’s Business Products Group, which is comprised of office supplies distributor S.P. Richards, the termination of the merger deal netted GPC a $12 million cancellation fee paid by Staples.
GPC also expanded its e-commerce presence, which was already extensive across its three operating groups. Motion Industries agreed in Q3 to acquire Hydraulic Supply Co., which GPC projects will add $85 million in first-year revenue through its multichannel system of 30 physical branches, sales reps and an e-commerce site at Hydraulic-Supply.com.
The deal closed on Oct. 1; GPC didn’t say what it paid for Hydraulic Supply.
GPC announced in the quarter that two lieutenants of Breen, executive vice presidents Randy Breax and Kevin Storer, had stepped up to lead Motion Industries, which sells online at MotionIndustries.com. The company also recently folded EIS into Motion Industries, where it will be called EIS Specialties Group. EIS operates an e-commerce site at EIS-inc.com.
GPC also has been expanding overseas. Its foreign investments include a stake in Australia’s Inenco Group, which includes several industrial distributors that sell online and as well offline. These distributors include CBC Australia, a supplier of industrial bearings and related products that sells online at Conbear.com.au.
GPC also recently launched automotive industry e-commerce sites in Australia and Canada. Regarding its online market in Australia, “We’ve had over 3.5 million visits to our new site there, averaging 25,000 a day in terms of site visits,” Carol Yancey, chief financial officer, said last week on a recent conference call with stock analysts, according to a transcript from Seeking Alpha.
For the third quarter ended Sept. 30, GPC reported:
- Net sales of $4.723 billion, up 15.3% from $4.096 billion a year earlier;
- Gross profit of $1.484 billion, up 20.3% from $1.227 billion, resulting in a profit margin of 31.4%, up from 30.0%;
- Net income of $220.23 million, up 39.0% year over year from $158.44 million;
- Increased tariffs on supplies from China contributed to a 3.2% year-to-date increase in costs in the Industrial Parts Group, as some of GPC’s manufacturing suppliers use components sourced from China.
For the nine months ended Sept. 30, GPC reported:
- Net sales of $14.131 billion, up 16.8% from $12.102 billion a year earlier;
- Gross profit of $4.442 billion, up 22.6% from $3.622 billion;
- Net income of $623.78 million, up 22.7% from $508.57 million.
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