Valmont Industries Inc. reported sales for the fourth quarter of $286.7 million compared with $227.2 million for the same period of 2003. Fourth quarter 2004 net earnings were $11.8 million versus fourth quarter 2003 net earnings of $7.7 million.

For the fiscal year 2004, sales were $1,031.5 million versus $837.6 million in 2003. Valmont's fiscal year net earnings, which included a $6.1 million after-tax charge related to the second quarter debt prepayment, were $27.2 million compared with 2003 fiscal year earnings of $25.5 million.

"Improved profitability in our Engineered Support Structures Segment, stronger market conditions and pricing for the Utility Support Structures Segment, the acquisition of Newmark and higher sales and profitability in our Tubing Segment were the main factors that contributed to the improvement in net earnings for the quarter," said Mogens C. Bay, Valmont's Chairman and CEO. "Sales and operating income were lower in the Irrigation Segment. Farmer concerns over lower commodity prices and higher energy costs impacted demand in North America. Significant increases in the selling price of irrigation equipment due to higher steel costs further dampened demand."

In the Irrigation Segment, fourth quarter sales were $67.7 million, a 9 percent decrease from 2003. Operating income for the segment declined 22 percentto $7.1 million due to lower sales in North America where demand was adversely impacted by lower crop prices, and inflation in energy and fertilizer costs. Despite lower sales, the Irrigation Segment is still producing operating income greater than 10 percent of sales. The lower sales and production levels led to reduced factory efficiencies, which contributed to lower operating income. In international markets, sales and profitability were comparable to last year.

Source: Company Release