HNI Corporation Reports Earnings for Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year 2023

HNI Corporation (NYSE: HNI) today announced sales of $2.434 billion and net income of $49.2 million for the full year ended December 30, 2023. GAAP net income per diluted share was $1.09, compared to $2.94 in the prior year. Non-GAAP net income per diluted share was $2.65, compared to $2.20 in the prior year. GAAP to non-GAAP reconciliations follow the financial statements in this release.

Fourth quarter sales of $679.8 million were up 19 percent from year-ago levels, and fourth quarter net income was $22.7 million. GAAP net income per diluted share was $0.48, compared to $0.39 in the prior year. Non-GAAP net income per diluted share was $0.98, up from $0.63 reported in the prior-year period.

Fourth Quarter Highlights

  • Strong earnings growth. Fourth quarter GAAP earnings per share increased 23 percent year-over-year. On a non-GAAP basis, the Corporation delivered diluted earnings per share that were 56 percent higher than the fourth quarter of fiscal year 2022 despite a 6.4 percent year-over-year organic revenue decline.
  • Significant Workplace Furnishings margin expansion. Segment GAAP operating margin expanded 410 basis points on a year-over-year basis. Excluding impacts from the Kimball International acquisition, fourth quarter non-GAAP operating profit margin for legacy HNI workplace furnishings (“Legacy Workplace”) increased 480 basis points compared to the prior-year period. Price-cost improvement, productivity gains, and benefits from recent cost savings initiatives were the primary drivers of margin expansion.
  • Kimball International solidly accretive; estimated synergies move higher. Kimball International (“KII”) added approximately $16 million to fourth quarter operating profit while generating an operating profit margin of approximately 11 percent. KII also added an estimated $0.07 to fourth quarter non-GAAP EPS. The Corporation now expects to achieve total annual cost synergies of $35 million. This is up from previous expectations of at least $25 million, which is now expected to be achieved in 2024—well ahead of the initially communicated time horizon.
  • Residential Building Products margins improve despite continued housing market weakness. Segment GAAP operating margin expanded 310 basis points year-over-year to 22.3 percent. Non-GAAP operating margin improved to 22.3 percent, a 240 basis point improvement from 19.9 percent in the year-ago period. This was despite a 13.1 percent year-over-year revenue decline. Recent cost reduction actions continued to support profitability. The segment remains well positioned for sustained long-term profitable growth. Order trends improved during the quarter, and the intermediate- to long-term demand dynamics remain encouraging for the segment.
  • Strong balance sheet further strengthened. The Corporation reduced debt by $73 million in the fourth quarter and by $162 million during the second half of 2023. As a result, the Corporation ended the fourth quarter with $436 million in total debt with a gross leverage ratio of 1.9x, as calculated by the Corporation’s lending agreements. Gross leverage is back below 2.0x only two quarters following the acquisition of Kimball International.

“We made outstanding progress in 2023 and finished the year on a strong note, delivering greater than 50 percent earnings growth in the fourth quarter. Our Workplace Furnishings profit transformation plan continues to pay dividends and drove segment fourth quarter operating margin to pre-pandemic levels. The synergy capture associated with the Kimball International acquisition is ahead of schedule; moreover, we now expect total synergies to be $10 million higher than our initial projection. In Residential Building Products, our actions to support profitability fueled margins to near record levels despite housing market weakness. Overall, we exited 2023 a fundamentally stronger company, reflecting the power and dedication of our member-owners,” stated Jeff Lorenger, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer.

HNI Corporation — Fourth Quarter Summary Comments

  • Consolidated net sales increased 19.5 percent from the prior-year quarter to $679.8 million. On an organic basis, sales decreased 6.4 percent compared to the prior-year quarter. The acquisition of Kimball International increased year-over-year sales by $147.4 million. A reconciliation of organic sales, a non-GAAP measure, follows the financial statements in this release.
  • Gross profit margin expanded 360 basis points compared to the prior-year quarter, driven by favorable price-cost, improved net productivity, lower restructuring costs, and the impact of the Kimball International acquisition, partially offset by lower building products volume.
  • Selling and administrative expenses as a percent of sales decreased 50 basis points from the prior-year quarter. This decrease was driven by improved freight and distribution productivity, lower core SG&A, and lower group medical expense, partially offset by lower building products volume and higher variable compensation. The current quarter also included $3.6 million of acquisition-related fees and expenses, while the prior-year quarter included $2.5 million associated with a company-wide cost reduction initiative.
  • Restructuring and impairment charges totaled $31.4 million in the current-year quarter, primarily from goodwill and intangible asset impairments related to small business units in the Workplace Furnishings segment. In the prior-year quarter, the Corporation incurred $5.7 million of restructuring and impairment costs related to efforts to drive business simplification and improve long-term profitability in the Workplace Furnishings segment.
  • Non-GAAP net income per diluted share was $0.98 compared to $0.63 in the prior-year quarter. The $0.35 increase was primarily driven by improved net productivity, favorable price-cost, lower core SG&A, and the net impact of the Kimball International acquisition, partially offset by lower building products volume and higher variable compensation.
  • The GAAP tax rate in the current-year period was impacted by the effects of the Kimball International acquisition and impairment charges, resulting in a rate of 0.0 percent. Non-GAAP net income per diluted share in the current-year quarter includes an effective tax rate of 19.5 percent.

HNI Corporation — Full Year Summary Comments

  • Consolidated net sales increased 3.1 percent from the prior year to $2.434 billion. On an organic basis, net sales decreased 10.6 percent compared to the prior year primarily due to declines in Residential Building Products that were driven by housing market weakness. The current-year acquisition of Kimball International increased year-over-year sales by $361.4 million, while the prior-year acquisition of a residential building products company increased year-over-year sales by $2.4 million. The prior-year sale of the Corporation’s China- and Hong Kong-based Lamex office furniture business (“Lamex”) decreased year-over-year sales by $46.9 million.
  • Gross profit margin expanded 360 basis points compared to the prior year. This increase was driven by favorable price-cost, improved net productivity, and the impact of the Kimball International acquisition, partially offset by lower organic volume.
  • Selling and administrative expenses as a percent of sales increased 280 basis points compared to the prior year. This increase was driven by $41.2 million of acquisition-related fees and expenses along with lower organic volume and higher variable compensation, partially offset by lower core SG&A and dilution from price realization. The prior year also included $8.0 million associated with a company-wide cost reduction initiative.
  • Restructuring and impairment costs in the current year were primarily comprised of $31.0 million of goodwill and intangible asset impairments related to small business units in the Workplace Furnishings segment and $9.8 million incurred in connection with the divestiture of Poppin. In the prior year, the Corporation incurred restructuring and impairment costs of $6.7 million primarily related to efforts to drive business simplification and improve long-term profitability in the Workplace Furnishings segment.
  • A pre-tax gain of $50.4 million was recorded as a corporate item during the prior year as a result of the divestiture of Lamex.
  • Non-GAAP net income per diluted share was $2.65, compared to $2.20 in the prior year. The $0.45 increase was driven by favorable price-cost, improved net productivity, lower core SG&A, and the net impact of the Kimball International acquisition, partially offset by lower organic volume and higher variable compensation.

Workplace Furnishings — Fourth Quarter Summary Comments

  • Workplace Furnishings net sales increased 39.7 percent from the prior-year quarter to $490.7 million. On an organic basis, net sales decreased 2.3 percent from the prior-year quarter. The impact of the Kimball International acquisition increased sales by $147.4 million over the prior-year quarter.
  • Workplace Furnishings GAAP operating profit margin expanded 410 basis points versus the prior-year period. On a non-GAAP basis, segment operating profit margin expanded 580 basis points, driven by the impact of the Kimball International acquisition, favorable price-cost, improved net productivity, and lower core SG&A, partially offset by higher variable compensation. Excluding the impact of KII, fourth quarter non-GAAP operating profit margin for Legacy Workplace was 7.2 percent, an improvement of 480 basis points year-on-year.

Workplace Furnishings — Full Year Summary Comments

  • Workplace Furnishings net sales increased 17.1 percent from the prior year to $1.740 billion. On an organic basis, net sales decreased 4.2 percent from the prior year. The impact of the Kimball International acquisition increased sales by $361.4 million over the prior year, while the prior-year sale of Lamex decreased sales $46.9 million year-over-year.
  • Workplace Furnishings GAAP operating profit margin expanded 370 basis points. On a non-GAAP basis, segment operating profit margin expanded 560 basis points, primarily driven by favorable price-cost, the impact of the Kimball International acquisition, improved net productivity, and lower core SG&A, partially offset by lower organic volume and higher variable compensation. Excluding the impact of KII and Poppin, full year non-GAAP operating profit margin for Legacy Workplace was 6.6 percent, an improvement of 500 basis points year-on-year.

Residential Building Products — Fourth Quarter Summary Comments

  • Residential Building Products net sales decreased 13.1 percent from the prior-year quarter to $189.1 million, primarily due to housing market weakness. Remodel/retrofit sales declined at a higher rate than new construction.
  • Residential Building Products GAAP operating profit margin expanded 310 basis points, driven by improved net productivity, favorable price-cost, lower core SG&A, and favorable product mix, partially offset by lower volume.

Residential Building Products — Full Year Summary Comments

  • Residential Building Products net sales decreased 20.8 percent from the prior year to $693.7 million, primarily due to housing market weakness. Remodel/retrofit sales, which also were negatively impacted by the normalization of trade inventory, declined at a higher rate than new construction. On an organic basis, sales decreased 21.0 percent year-over-year. The prior-year acquisition of a building product company increased sales $2.4 million year-over-year.
  • Residential Building Products GAAP operating profit margin compressed 130 basis points due to lower volume, partially offset by favorable price-cost, improved net productivity, lower core SG&A, and lower variable compensation.

Fourth Quarter Orders

  • Organic orders in the Workplace Furnishings segment modestly grew during the quarter. Orders from small-to-medium sized customers and at KII Workplace & Health both increased year-over-year at a mid-single digit rate, outpacing contract orders, which were approximately flat versus the prior-year period. Overall, year-over-year order trends were uneven during the quarter and were strongest in December.
  • Orders in the Residential Building Products segment decreased three percent versus the fourth quarter of 2022. This represents an improvement compared to the third quarter when orders were down 18 percent year-over-year. Year-over-year order trends improved through the quarter, and new construction outperformed remodel/retrofit.

Outlook

  • 2024 non-GAAP earnings per share are expected to increase solidly year-over-year primarily driven by continued margin expansion in Workplace Furnishings and accretion from Kimball International.
  • 2024 demand environment. The Corporation expects 2024 organic revenue to grow at a low-single-digit rate in both Workplace Furnishings and Residential Building Products. For Workplace Furnishings, this outlook assumes demand conditions remain generally in-line with those experienced in the second-half 2023. In Residential Building Products, the Corporation expects growth in new construction to be partially offset by continued declines in remodel/retrofit.
  • 2024 impact of Kimball International. The Corporation expects KII to add $215 to $225 million of incremental revenue to 2024 and be solidly accretive to earnings.
  • Balance Sheet. The Corporation expects to further reduce leverage and improve its already strong balance sheet during 2024 through modest debt reduction and continued EBITDA growth. Low leverage and consistent cash flow generation will provide the Corporation with substantial capacity for capital deployment. The Corporation’s current priorities for capital deployment are reinvesting in the business, funding dividends, and pursuing share buybacks and M&A opportunities.
  • First quarter non-GAAP earnings per share are expected to increase year-over-year, with margin expansion and accretion from Kimball International more than offsetting macro-driven top line pressure. The Corporation expects first quarter Workplace Furnishings organic revenue to be down in the low-single digits versus the same quarter of 2023. KII is expected to add $125 to $130 million of revenue. In Residential Building Products, the Corporation expects first quarter revenue to be down in the low- to mid-teens year-over-year. This primarily reflects the impact from unwinding the elevated remodel-retrofit backlog in the year-ago period, partially offset by forecasted growth in new construction.

Concluding Remarks

“Our strategies have driven non-GAAP EPS growth in excess of 60 percent and expanded operating margin by 270 basis points over the past two years despite a consistently turbulent macroeconomic environment. In Workplace Furnishings, our profit transformation initiatives and the addition of Kimball International have expanded margins more than 600 basis points, and segment operating profit has grown $110 million or more than 750 percent from 2021 levels. We expect continued year-over-year profit and margin improvement from here.

“The integration and accretion from Kimball International are ahead of schedule, and our synergy expectations have moved higher. KII is complementary from a product, market, and cultural perspective; and it strengthens our Workplace Furnishings exposure to several important trends and markets—namely, ancillary products, secondary geographies, healthcare, and hospitality. Each provides new opportunities for profit growth. Our confidence in the combination’s strategic and financial benefits continues to accelerate.

“In Residential Building Products, we quickly adjusted our cost structure to respond to the housing re-set in 2023. Despite the macro-driven top line pressure, our operating profit margin in the fourth quarter expanded to near-record levels, even as we continued to invest in our growth strategies, leading brands, and operating platforms. Although the near term remains dynamic, leading indicators are improving, and we are uniquely positioned to drive high-margin growth as the housing market stabilizes.

“Our balance sheet is in excellent shape, and our cash flow is strong. Our members are focused and driving our core strategies of expanding margins in Workplace Furnishings and driving long-term high-margin revenue growth in Residential Building Products,” concluded Mr. Lorenger.

The full text of HNI’s 4Q23 earnings release, including all tables, and a replay of the company’s Feb. 22 conference call may be accessed at investors.hnicorp.com. A telephone replay of the call will be available until Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, 10:59 p.m. (Central) by dialing 1-800-770-2030 – Conference ID number 7175411.

About HNI Corporation

HNI Corporation (NYSE: HNI) is a manufacturer of workplace furnishings and residential building products, operating under two segments. The Workplace Furnishings segment is a leading global designer and provider of commercial furnishings, going to market under multiple unique brands. The Residential Building Products segment is the nation’s leading manufacturer and marketer of hearth products, which include a full array of gas, electric, wood, and pellet-burning fireplaces, inserts, stoves, facings, and accessories. More information can be found on the Corporation’s website at www.hnicorp.com.