MSA Safety Incorporated (NYSE: MSA) has reported results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2015.

Fourth quarter revenue was $313 million, increasing 8 percent on a local currency basis, including 4 percent associated with the recent acquisition of Latchways plc, a U.K.-based market leader in highly engineered fall protection systems. Reported revenue increased 1 percent, reflecting a 7 percent foreign currency translation headwind related to the stronger U.S. dollar.

“Our fourth quarter results reflected strong execution of our strategy in a very challenging environment,” said William M. Lambert, MSA chairman, president and CEO.  “Despite the weakness we are seeing in the energy market and in key emerging market geographies, our full-year revenue finished at the high end of our mid-single digit local currency growth range target, and we continued to see strong returns from the organic investments we’ve made in R&D over the past several years.”  

As an example, Lambert noted that the company’s G1 SCBA model continues to drive market share gains in the U.S. fire service, with a 2015 competitive conversion rate of more than 50 percent on all incoming orders. 

Continuing its focus on driving growth in attractive markets, the company took steps in the fourth quarter to broaden its market coverage, geographic reach and product portfolio within the growing fall protection segment.  “In October we deployed capital to acquire Latchways, a strategic investment that provides a very solid foundation for achieving growth in one of the largest areas of the global safety market,” Lambert noted.  “I’m pleased to report that we are very much on track with our integration plans, which include realizing synergies and leveraging the unique strengths of each organization to deliver unparalleled solutions to our customers,” Lambert said.

Macro headwinds

“Although we continue to see solid results in certain areas of our business, our planning assumptions for 2016 reflect a slower growth environment associated with the macro headwinds that continue to impact the energy market and emerging markets like China and Brazil,” he said.  Lambert added that the company has completed its previously announced restructuring program to mitigate the impact of a challenging business cycle, and this initiative is expected to generate $10 million of operating expense savings in 2016.

“We took decisive steps in the fourth quarter to drive top-line growth while reducing our cost structure to align with the realities of our current operating environment,” Lambert said. “As we look ahead to 2016, we will continue to focus on closely managing operating expenses while using our strong capital structure to invest in new product development and other strategic initiatives that advance our mission, build customer loyalty, and position MSA for profitable growth and value creation in 2016 and beyond,” he concluded.