The Sherwin-Williams Company has posted record consolidated net sales of US$23.05 billion for the year ended 31 December 2023, a 4.1 per cent increase on the previous corresponding period. The company generated US$3.52 billion (15.3 per cent of net sales) in net operating cash during the year, allowing it to return cash of US$2.06 billion to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases, reduce short-term borrowings and long-term debt, and fund the acquisition of German-based SIC Holding.
In Q4 2023, consolidated net sales increased 0.4 per cent to US$5.25 billion, mainly due to an increase in Paint Stores Group net sales volume but partially offset by lower net sales volumes in the Performance Coatings (which includes Automotive Refinish) and Consumer Brands Groups.
Income before income taxes for the quarter was $US4.74 billion, a decrease of 4.2 per cent compared to the corresponding period last year, primarily due to continued investments in long-term growth strategies, higher employee-related expense, and higher environmental expense, partially offset by moderating raw material costs year-over-year. Higher non-operating costs, including a loss related to the significant devaluation of the Argentine peso in December 2023 as part of economic reforms implemented by the government of Argentina and impairment related to trademarks, also decreased income before income taxes.
“Sherwin-Williams delivered solid fourth quarter results, with positive sales growth and significant year-over-year gross margin improvement,” said Heidi Petz, President and Chief Executive Officer of Sherwin-Williams. “We continued our accelerated growth investments in the quarter which we are confident will continue to drive profitable, above-market growth in future periods. Sales in all three reportable segments were within or better than our guidance.”
According to Petz, Sherwin-Williams is entering 2024 with confidence in its ability to outperform the market because of its “customer-focused differentiated services and solutions”. She added that the macro environment feels more encouraging than it did a year ago, though uncertainties remain.
The company expects consolidated net sales in Q1 2024 to be up or down a low-single digit percentage compared to the first quarter of 2023, while full year 2024 should be up a low to mid-single digit percentage.