Maker of School Furniture Sees Net Income Rise

Maker of School Furniture Sees Net Income Rise
Virco Manufacturing Corp. exhibited at a trade show in February.

A diversified customer base helped Virco Manufacturing Corp. stay afloat in the third quarter, according to its chief executive.

Robert Virtue said that the Torrance manufacturer of school desks, chairs, tables and storage products was subjected to a stress test as the Covid-19 pandemic forced many of its customers to be closed for business.

“But the diversity of our customer base is significant, and includes private schools, international schools, and public schools in regions of the U.S. where in-person schooling continued during the pandemic,” Virtue said in a release.

The company reported in December net income of $7.9 million (48 cents a share) for the quarter ending Oct. 31, compared with $1.3 million (8 cents) in the same period a year earlier. Revenue increased by 35% from the third quarter of the prior year to $77.4 million.

The rise was attributable to an increase in the company’s beginning-of-year sales backlog, increased first-quarter orders and a price hike for orders received after Jan. 1.

Virco’s stock price has decreased by 6% since the start of the year, when it closed at $4.65 on Jan. 3. The share price closed at $4.35 on March 9.

The company maintained competitive costs, outputs and deliveries despite the interruptions brought on by the pandemic, Virtue said, adding that he believed the stresses of the pandemic validated the Virco’s efforts to preserve and enhance its domestic capacity.

“We are especially proud that our dedicated workforce came to work every day and delivered material improvements to efficiency, despite the many distractions of the pandemic,” Virtue said.

What Virco does as a company depends on what the employees working in the manufacturing and shipping areas do as individuals, as every chair or desk has to be made and then delivered and installed, Virtue continued.

Virco employees delivered and installed 21 million pounds of school furniture in June, July and August, traditionally the company’s busiest months, Virtue said, adding that “this level of operational strength may be unequaled in our market.

“We look forward to building on this strength to support students, educators, and communities, and to delivering a well-deserved return to our loyal shareholders who have supported these efforts,” Virtue continued.

Doug Virtue, the president of Virco and the third generation to be involved with the family-run venture, said that he was inspired by the activity in the company’s factories and shipping docks during the summer season.

“Thanks to the optimism and resolve of our staff, we proved there is dignity in a job well done,” Doug Virtue said. “I am thankful to our employees for their heroic efforts, and to our shareholders whose patience supported this performance.”

Virco has 550,000 square feet of office, manufacturing and shipping facilities in Torrance, which processes orders for the western and midwestern states and the Pacific Rim, and 1.75 million square feet of manufacturing and warehouse space in Conway, Arkansas, which handles orders for the remainder of the country east of the Rocky Mountains plus the Caribbean.

The company devoted a lot of energy to enhancing the capabilities of its domestic operations. These enhancements were carried out even as many of Virco’s school customers were closed due to Covid, Doug Virtue continued.

“We always believed that in-person schooling was essential — not just for students — but for parents, teachers, communities, and our shared aspirations as people,” he said. “I look forward to supporting the renaissance in public and private education. The last few years were hard, but the future looks bright.”

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