ATLANTA — Completing its 76th year in operation, Genuine Parts Co. (GPC) has reported sales and earnings for the year, which ended December 31, 2003.
Sales in 2003 were $8.4 billion, up 2.3 percent compared to the previous year. Net income for the year, before the cumulative effect of changes in accounting principles related to cash consideration from vendors and goodwill, was $354 million, compared to $368 million, for the same period in the prior year, a decrease of 4 percent. Diluted earnings per share, excluding the cumulative effect adjustments, were $2.03 versus $2.10 per share in 2002, a decrease of 3 percent. After accounting changes recorded in the first quarter of 2003 and 2002 as discussed below, net income was $334 million, or $1.91 diluted income per share, compared to a net loss of $27.6 million, or $.16 diluted loss per share in 2002.
“Total sales for 2003 reached a new record level for us, exceeding our previous high set in the year 2000,” said Chairman Larry Prince. “We are disappointed that earnings before the cumulative effect adjustments were not on the plus side, given our sales improvement. While we were able to do a commendable job of expense control, our gross profit margins before the reclassification of vendor consideration were below those of the previous year and negatively impacted our earnings picture.”
Sales increased 5 percent to $2.09 billion in the fourth quarter, as compared to $1.99 billion for the same period in 2002. Diluted earnings per share in the fourth quarter were $.50 compared to the prior year of $.52 per share, a decrease of 4 percent.
“For the quarter, revenues in our automotive group were up 6 percent, a strong finish to the year and we were pleased to see the positive impact of our sales initiatives,” said Prince.
GPC has announced an increase of 2 percent in the regular quarterly cash dividend for 2004. On February 16, the board increased the cash dividend payable to an annual rate of $1.20 per share compared with the previous dividend of $1.18 per share. The quarterly cash dividend of $.30 per share is payable April 1 to shareholders of record March 5.
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