Timken misses 4Q expectations

The Timken Company, a manufacturer of precision bearings, alloys and related products, with a plant in Lebanon, announced record sales for 2005.

Sales were $5.2 billion, up 15 percent from last year, due in large part to a number of one-time transactions. If those one-time items are excluded, the financial picture of the Canton, Ohio-based company looks a little less rosy.

In the fourth quarter of 2005, the company posted earnings of $94.9 million, or $1.01 per share, up from $64.4 million, or 71 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2004. If adjusted for the one-time gains for the sale of certain assets, earnings were closer to $50.6 million, or 54 cents per share, over 44 cents in the same quarter a year ago, showing still positive, but much slower growth than anticipated.

Industry analysts had pegged Timken at 63 cents per share on sales of $1.28 billion.

James W. Griffith, Timken president and chief executive, said, “While adjusted fourth quarter earnings per diluted share were up 23 percent over the same period last year, they were lower than anticipated due to higher manufacturing costs, a write-off of obsolete and slow-moving inventory, and increased reserves for automotive industry credit exposure.”

The 2006 outlook anticipates continued growth. Earnings per diluted share for 2006, excluding special items, are estimated at $2.65 to $2.80 for the year and 55 cents to 60 cents for the first quarter. – CINDY KIBBE

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