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SPRING 2015

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Distributor's Link Magazine Spring Issue 2015 / Vol 38 No2

44 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S

44 THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK GLOBALFASTENERNEWS.COM by JASON SANDEFUR CONTRIBUTING EDITOR news@globalfastenernews.com END OF 2014 FIN SURVEY: SOLID RETURNS FOR FASTENER COMPANIES For the fourth year in a row a majority of fastener companies participating in the End of 2014 FIN Survey reported solid results, with widespread sales and profits gains and mostly moderate costs increases. Just under seven in ten businesses reported "moderate" to "strong" sales growth in 2014. About 64% of fastener manufacturers, importers, distributors and platers reported increased profits. The End of 2014 FIN Survey found costs edged up modestly. And 55% of businesses reported a "moderate" to "strong" increase in capital expenditures during 2014. Much of the same is expected this year, with a solid majority of FIN Survey participants forecasting higher sales and profits amid moderate cost increases for 2015. Manufacturers A strong majority of fastener manufacturers reported steel prices were flat over the past six months, while finished goods and raw material inventories as 2015 began were largely up from a year before. Fastener manufacturers reported operating at a range from 40% of capacity to 98% in 2014, with an average of 70.5%. Distributors Distributors reported fasteners were predominately available in 2014, with 62% of distributors claiming no problems obtaining fasteners, down from 82% claiming no difficulty the previous year. About 39% reported moderate to significant difficulty obtaining certain fasteners in 2014. For the second straight year, distributor gross margins improved. Gross margins reported by distributor respondents ranged from 12% to 60%. Fastener Prices The majority of fastener businesses successfully raised prices in 2014. Price increases ranged from 1% to 20%, with an average increase of 4.75%. For 2015, 56% of businesses forecast price gains — up two percentage points from last year — while 21% anticipate no price changes this year and nearly two in ten fastener companies are "unsure." BUSINESS FOCUS ARTICLE CONTINUED ON PAGE 156

THE DISTRIBUTOR’S LINK 45

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