“In the third quarter our team executed well, drove broad-based productivity improve-ments, and delivered record earnings per share, which exceeded our guidance range. Sales growth in North America and EMEA was partially offset by a softer spending envi-ronment in China,” said Anders Gustafsson, CEO of Zebra Technologies.
“Our team continues to win business with a broad range of leading enterprises as evi-denced by our recently announced multi-year agreement with the United States Postal Service. We continue to invest in our Enterprise Asset Intelligence vision, broadening our capabilities as a solutions provider in vibrant markets.”
Net sales were $1,130 million in the third quarter of 2019 compared to $1,092 million in the third quarter of 2018. Net sales in the Enterprise Visibility & Mobility (EVM) segment were $757 million in the third quarter of 2019 compared with $739 million in the third quarter of 2018.
Asset Intelligence & Tracking (AIT) segment net sales were $373 million in the third quar-ter of 2019 compared to $353 million in the prior year period. Third-quarter 2019 gross profit was $535 million compared to $505 million in the comparable prior year period. Net income for the third quarter of 2019 was $136 million, or $2.50 per diluted share, compared to net income of $127 million, or $2.34 per diluted share, for the third quarter of 2018.
As of Sept. 28, 2019, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $33 million and total debt of $1,528 million.
Free cash flow was $376 million for the first nine months of 2019. The company generat-ed $420 million of operating cash flow and incurred capital expenditures of $44 million.
For the first nine months of 2019, the company made payments of long-term debt of $661 million and received proceeds from the issuance of long-term debt of $593 million, resulting in $68 million net debt repayments.
The company expects fourth-quarter 2019 net sales to increase approximately 4% to 6% from the fourth quarter of 2018. This expectation includes an approximately 1%age point additive impact from recently acquired businesses, and an approximately 1%age point negative impact from foreign currency translation. For the full-year 2019, the company expects to generate free cash flow of at least $625 million.