Watsco earnings set record for quarter, year

Watsco, the Miami-based distributor of air conditioners, and heating and refrigeration equipment, on Thursday reported record earnings results for the fourth quarter and the year.

For the quarter, revenue grew 6 percent to $877 million, which eclipsed the $873 million that investors had expected and represented a new record for sales. Earnings of $0.69 per share, also a new record, was up 38 percent from the year-ago period, and beat the consensus projection by $0.06 per share. Watsco's three main business units all showed growth.

For the full year, earnings rose to a record $4.32 per share on $3.94 billion in sales, with HVAC equipment and commercial refrigeration sales each climbing 7 percent. Residential sales climbed 9 percent for the full year, showing the interest in upgrading HVAC equipment among homeowners.

Reflecting on the record-setting year, CEO Albert Nahmad said in a conference call, “We’ve established new records for earnings per share, net income, operating profit, operating margins and sales. Interesting enough, we did that in 2014 even after we made substantial investments in our business. For example, we added more products. We launched new technologies. We opened new locations and we added over 200 employees or about 5 percent more to our organization. We make these investments to generate more profitable sales growth, development of market share for our many manufacturing partners and to provide a great customer experience with our 60,000 contractors that we currently serve.”

Watsco is the largest distributor of air conditioning, heating and refrigeration equipment and related parts and supplies in its industry. The company operated from more than 570 locations in the Americas.

Nancy Dahlberg