STAMFORD, CT -- Crane Co., parent company of one of the world's largest vending machine and payment systems manufacturers, reported a 9% increase in profit for the fourth quarter on higher revenues that offset an increase in acquisition-related transaction costs. Adjusted earnings per share for the quarter beat analysts' expectations. Crane is projecting higher earnings for fiscal 2014, in line with street estimates, according to financial sources.
Crane's net income for the fourth quarter was $49.71 million or $0.84 per share, up from $45.64 million or $0.79 per share in the same period last year.
Segment wise, Merchandising Systems sales surged 30% to $122.65 million.
Crane's latest quarterly results included after-tax transaction-related costs of $11.9 million, or $0.20 a share, related to the recent acquisition of MEI Conlux Holdings. Crane closed its $804 million acquisition of MEI Conlux Holdings on Dec. 11, after it got the green light earlier in the month from the European Commission. | SEE STORY
The company said its merchandising segment had $25.2 million of sales related to the acquisition of MEI, coupled with higher sales in its payment solutions business. Vending Solutions (machines and technology) sales were flat, compared with last year. Excluding special items, operating profit increased in the quarter, reflecting strong performance in payment solutions and profit attributable to the MEI acquisition, partially offset by lower vending operating profit.
Crane president and chief operating officer Max Mitchell said the manufacturer is expecting its fourth consecutive year of record earnings, continued margin expansion and strong free cash flow. He also announced business unit related to merchandising systems.
"We enter the year having completed the acquisition of MEI, a business with highly innovative, complementary products that further strengthens our portfolio," Mitchell said. "In addition to unlocking significant synergies, the integration brings together MEI with our legacy Crane Payment Solutions team to create Crane Payment Innovations, a business that delivers highly engineered solutions and unparalleled customer service across attractive end markets."
Founded in 1855, Crane Co. describes itself as a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products. Rounding out the industrial concern's business segments are Aerospace & Electronics, Engineered Materials and Fluid Handling, which now includes the former Controls unit. These segments all posted higher sales in the last quarter.
Crane Merchandising Systems produces vending machines under the brands National Vendors, Dixie-Narco, Automatic Products, GPL and Stentorfield. The vending segment also includes Streamware, which develops and markets vending management software. Its payment systems brands include CashCode, Money Controls, NRI (National Rejectors Inc.) and Telequip, and now MEI.