Batesville, Ind.-based Hillenbrand Inc. reported strong results for its second quarter with an 11 percent increase in sales to $722 million driven by growth in two of its three operating segments.
Higher sales for the Molding Technology Solutions (MTS) unit, which was Milacron Holdings Corp. before it was acquired in 2019, and the burial casket business offset a drop for the Advanced Process Solutions (APS) unit, which manufactures industrial equipment.
In MTS, sales climbed 28 percent, a $56 million increase to $255 million, compared with the prior-year period. The unit sells injection molding, extrusion and hot-runner equipment and aftermarket parts and service.
Burial casket sales increased 20 percent to $166 million due to deaths attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic. The increase was partially offset by more families opting for cremation. The company expects demand to decline in the second half of the fiscal year.
For APS, Hillenbrand saw equipment sales drop 3 percent to $301 million compared with the same period in the prior year. The decline was largely driven by lower large polyolefin systems sales and aftermarket parts and service revenue.
Still, sales exceeded expectations across the company, officials said in a May 5 conference call with investment bankers.
Hillenbrand's product lineup for the recycling market is a growing part of the momentum, according to Hillenbrand President and CEO Joe Raver.
"We now have solutions in chemical and solvent-based recycling in addition to our well-established offerings in mechanical recycling," he said. "This is an exciting market that we expect to grow significantly across the globe in the coming years."
Hillenbrand has a record backlog of $1.52 billion, which is up 34 percent year over year driven by injection molding demand in MTS and large plastics projects in APS.
Overall, the company's 11,000 employees "went above and beyond" during the quarter ending March 31 and the industrial units have significant momentum heading into the second half of the fiscal year, Raver said.
"We significantly strengthened our balance sheet over the past 12 months and we're now focused on investing in growth initiatives," Raver said. "We believe we remain well positioned to overcome any near-term macro challenges and are confident in our strategy to deliver profitable growth for the long term."
Raver also said Hillenbrand hired its first chief sustainability officer and will continue to simplify and focus its portfolio. He pointed to the January sale of pump technology manufacturer Abel for $103.5 million and plans to divest Terra Source Global, which makes equipment for crushing and material handling, mostly for mining and forestry applications.