Donaldson Co. Inc. on Tuesday released financial results for its fiscal second quarter ending at the close of January, showing a 14% drop in net earnings despite a small uptick in sales.

Net earnings for the filtration provider to trucking and other industries totaled $50 million compared to $58 million the same time a year earlier, or 35 cents per diluted share compared to 39 cents per diluted share.

Net sales increased to $597 million from $582 million during the same time frame.

When the past six months are compared to a year earlier, net sales increased 1% while net earnings fell 13%. In fiscal 2014, Donaldson reported sales of $2.5 billion and record earnings per share.

The company said much of the decline in net earnings was due to a strengthened U.S. dollar, payments to its U.S. pension plan and a favorable settlement from a tax audit a year earlier.

“Overall, the currency headwinds were significant in the quarter and decreased our reported sales by $28 million compared to the prior year," said CEO Bill Cook. “We achieved solid constant currency sales growth of 7% in the quarter.”

He said Donaldson expects global economic conditions to improve only slightly over the next year. “In addition to the negative impact of the stronger U.S. dollar, the slow growth of the global economy combined with ongoing weak commodity prices is projected to have a negative impact on most of our OEM customers' sales, and as a result, ours.”

Overall the company now expects full-year sales to be flat to down 3%, which should result in fiscal 2015 diluted EPS of between $1.65 and $1.85 per share, excluding restructuring and pension lump sum settlement expenses.

"Since current conditions in many of our end markets remain weak, we will implement additional productivity improvement and restructuring actions during the balance of this fiscal year,” Cook said. “This will allow us to continue to invest in our key growth initiatives as we execute our plan to grow to $5 billion in revenues by Fiscal 2021."

For the 2015 fiscal year, Donaldson is projecting overall sales to be between $2.40 billion and $2.50 billion.

In its engine products division, it is forecasting sales growth to be down as much as 3%, due to foreign currency translation. In local currency, sales are forecasted to increase 1% to 5%.

Donaldson said its on-road OEM customers are expecting to increase production of heavy- and medium-duty trucks in 2015, while demand from off-road OEM customers is anticipated to be mixed, but it is anticipating continued strong growth for its engine aftermarket business globally.

As for the company’s industrial products division, it is forecasting sales to increase as much as 3%, including the impact of foreign currency translation. In local currency, sales are forecasted to increase 5% to 8%. Filtration sales are projected to be down as much as 4%, due mainly to currency headwinds.

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