Supreme Industries, Inc. (NYSE MKT: STS) announced that gross profit for 2015 improved to $54.2 million from $43.8 million in 2014, an increase of 23.7%.
Consolidated net sales from continuing operations increased 17.8% in 2015, reaching $278.4 million, compared with $236.3 million in 2014. Higher net sales of retail and fleet trucks more than offset lower sales of trolleys and specialty vehicles.
As a percentage of sales, gross margin expanded 92 basis points from 18.6% in 2014 to 19.5% in 2015. The wider margin was the result of higher sales volume and product mix. In addition, results in 2014 were negatively impacted by severe weather early in the year. Operating income climbed to $19.3 million for the year, and pre-tax income from continuing operations jumped 53.9% to $19.2 million, up from $12.5 million in 2014.
Net income in 2015 improved to $12.9 million, or $0.76 per diluted share. This is compared with $6.9 million, or $0.41 per diluted share in 2014. The company's discontinued shuttle bus business was sold in the first quarter of 2014 at a modest gain, but generated a $1.6 million after-tax net loss from operations in that period. Excluding the impact from discontinued operations, net income was up from $8.5 million or $0.50 per diluted share in 2014.
At the end of 2015, the consolidated order backlog was $98.1 million, which is 31.8% higher than the $74.4 million backlog at the end of the third quarter of 2015, and 22.7% higher than the $79.9 million backlog at the end of 2014.
"We remain optimistic as we enter 2016 with a strong order backlog," said Mark Weber, President and Chief Executive Officer. "In addition, 2016 market predictions for the work truck industry remain positive."
Working capital was $51.6 million at the end of 2015, compared with $43.3 million at December 27, 2014. The company ended the year with $17.2 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $8.3 million in total debt. Stockholders' equity increased to $88.6 million at December 26, 2015, compared with $81.0 million at December 27, 2014, increasing tangible book value per share to $5.32, compared with $4.94 at the end of 2014.
Demand for medium-duty work trucks remained strong in the fourth quarter of 2015. This drove consolidated net sales up 27.0% to $67.7 million in the fourth quarter, versus $53.3 million in 2014's final quarter.
Gross profit increased 46.2% to $14.7 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $10.0 million in the prior-year quarter. As a percentage of sales, fourth quarter gross margin expanded 285 basis points in 2015 to 21.7%, up from 18.8% in 2014. Income from continuing operations before taxes increased 175.1% to $5.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2015, versus $2.1 million in the previous year's same quarter.
Fourth quarter net income increased 150.0% to $3.8 million in 2015, compared with $1.5 million in the same quarter of 2014. Net earnings per diluted share more than doubled to $0.22 per share in the quarter, up from $0.09 per share in 2014.
"As expected, our reported financial results are beginning to reflect the momentum of our growth initiatives, combined with strong demand for medium-duty work trucks," said Mark Weber, President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are also making solid progress toward the consistent delivery of our customer-centric value proposition."