Carlisle Cos. reports 46% profit increase in 4Q

Carlisle Cos. said Thursday its profit in the fourth quarter rose 46 percent compared with last year, to $69.7 million, but the Ballantyne-based company again reported lower sales in its brake and friction business.

Three of the company’s four business segments reported a rise in net sales, which were up 6 percent, to $724 million, from $683.6 million a year ago. Sales in the brake and friction segment dropped 8 percent, as the company reported lower demand for heavy equipment in the mining and construction industries.

The company is searching for a business to acquire after selling its transportation products segment in December. During a conference call Thursday with analysts, CEO David Roberts said the loss of the segment has delayed progress on the company’s goal to grow annual revenue to $5 billion.

The $375 million sale of the segment to New York-based American Industrial Partners took Carlisle out of tires, the business on which the company was founded. Carlisle said Chinese tire manufacturers made it hard for the company to grow profit margins for its lawn and garden tractor tires.

Roberts said the company is “aggressively” looking for a replacement product with a high profit margin.

For the full fiscal year, Carlisle said profits fell 22 percent, to $208.6 million, as it reported a $99 million decline in sales in the brake and friction segment. The segment posted lower year-over-year sales for every quarter in 2013. The segment sells brake and friction systems used mostly by the mining, construction and agricultural industries.

But Roberts told analysts Thursday the company is starting to see signs of growth in the braking business. Order rates have been rising for most of Carlisle’s braking products, except for those used in mining, he said.

For the full fiscal year, the company reported record net sales of $2.9 billion, up 3 percent from the prior year.

Started in 1917 in Carlisle, Pa., Carlisle has its roots in selling inner tubes for automobiles but has grown into other lines of business since then.

Its construction materials segment makes roofing products. Its interconnect technologies sector makes cable and wires for commercial and military aircraft. Its food service products sector provides dishes, cookware and other supplies to restaurants and hospitals.

Carlisle shares rose 4 percent to $76.03 Thursday.