RPM International Inc. recently reported financial results for its fiscal 2020 fourth quarter and year ended May 31, 2020. Net sales in the 2020 fiscal fourth quarter were almost $1.5 billion compared to $1.6 billion reported in the year-ago period, or a decline of 8.9%. RPM’s fiscal 2020 full-year net sales were $5.5 billion, or down 1% compared to $5.6 billion during fiscal 2019. Organic sales declined 0.8%, while acquisitions added 1.1%. Foreign currency translation reduced sales by 1.3%.

“As anticipated, our growth was temporarily impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, but proactive measures, including our MAP to Growth program, helped mitigate the impact on our bottom line,” said Frank C. Sullivan, chairman and CEO. “As a result, while our fourth-quarter adjusted diluted earnings per share were below last year’s all-time high levels, they were still our second best on record.

“RPM’s consolidated sales decline of 8.9% for the quarter reflected the impact of Covid-19 which, to various degrees, interrupted our manufacturing and distribution operations, as well as the maintenance, repair and construction activities of our customers around the world. On a geographic basis, our sales were essentially flat in the U.S., where construction and hardware channels were deemed essential, but were down about 25% in international markets, where these industries were halted to control the spread of the virus. Our better-than-expected top-line results were largely driven by growing demand in the U.S. for our Consumer Group’s small project paints, caulks, sealants, repair products, wood stains and specialty cleaners. The segment experienced record demand for these products via e-commerce retailers, as well as the online portals and brick-and-mortar stores of its DIY home improvement retail partners. The Consumer Group’s strong performance relative to our other segments underscores the benefit of our operating company portfolio, which is strategically balanced between consumer and industrial businesses.

“Over the course of the pandemic, we have remained focused on protecting the health and well-being of our associates and their family members. We instituted comprehensive safety protocols to keep our employees healthy in the workplace, while allowing associates whose jobs can effectively be performed remotely to do so. During the quarter, a number of our plants around the world were temporarily closed due to Covid-19, either because of government mandates or for disinfecting and cleaning. Thanks to our associates’ efforts to follow our protocols, nearly all of our manufacturing facilities have been open and operational since our fiscal year end.”

The Construction Products Group’s 2020 fiscal year sales were almost $1.88 billion, a decrease of 1% compared to $1.9 billion during fiscal 2019. Organic sales decreased 1.1%, while acquisitions added 1.9%. Foreign currency translation reduced sales by 1.8%.

Fiscal 2020 sales in the Performance Coatings Group declined by 4.9% to $1.08 billion from $1.14 billion in the prior year. Organic sales decreased 3.7%, while acquisitions added 0.4%. Foreign currency translation reduced sales by 1.6%.

In the Consumer Group, fiscal 2020 sales were up 4.7% to $1.95 billion from $1.86 billion during fiscal 2019. Organic sales increased 5.1%, while acquisitions added 0.5%. Foreign currency reduced sales by 0.9%.

The Specialty Products Group’s fiscal 2020 sales were $601 million compared to $670.2 million a year ago, representing a decline of 10.3%. Organic sales decreased 11.4%. Acquisitions added 1.7%, while foreign currency translation reduced sales by 0.6%.

“After an interruption in our sales and earnings growth momentum due to lockdowns at the end of last fiscal year, for the first quarter we expect to resume the growth typical of recent quarters,” Sullivan said. “Our fiscal 2021 first-quarter outlook is for net sales growth in low single digits and adjusted EBIT growth of 20% or more. After bottoming out in April and May, business has been trending better in the first quarter as many markets have re-opened.

“Looking ahead to the full year of fiscal 2021, we anticipate our Construction Products Group and Performance Coatings Group could experience sales declines for the first three quarters and then turn positive in the fourth quarter. Our Consumer Group has continued its sales momentum into fiscal 2021. The Specialty Products Group is expected to face negative sales comparisons during the first two quarters, which should turn positive on the back half. These sales projections are based on the assumption that we do not experience a second wave of lockdowns related to Covid-19. Given the unprecedented volatility in our recent monthly sales and continued economic uncertainty related to the length and severity of the Covid-19 health crisis, we are not providing earnings guidance at this time for the full year of fiscal 2021.

“We remain laser-focused on advancing our MAP to Growth program and managing our businesses to drive efficiency. We continue to identify numerous opportunities for self-improvement and remain on track to reach our targeted $290 million in annualized savings over the course of the program.”

Additional details are available at www.rpminc.com.