|ST. LOUIS -- Crane Co. announced that sales in its merchandising systems business unit declined $13.6 million, or 15%, in the fourth quarter of 2008. Sales for the quarter were $78.2 million, compared with $91.8 million for the same period in 2007.
The Stamford, CT-based diversified manufacturer attributed the quarterly loss to the global economic downturn, a sharp decline in vending sales and, to a lesser extent, a decline in payment systems sales. Improved margins in payment systems was not enough to offset a $5.6 million decrease in operating profit, which Crane said was a result of declining vending sales.
Crane’s companywide net sales slipped 0.6% to $2.6 billion during 2008, compared with $2.62 billion the prior year. Net income rose to $135.2 million for the year, compared with a net loss of $62.3 million in 2007.
Fourth-quarter sales were down to $589.3 million, an 11.5% decline from the $666 million posted during the same period in the prior year. Crane posted a net loss of $8.3 million for the quarter, compared with net income of $45.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2007. Crane said core business sales decreased $51.7 million, or 2%, for the full year, but acquisitions added about 1% or $31.9 million.
“In light of further deterioration in the U.S. and global economy and its impact on Crane’s end markets during the fourth quarter, the company expanded the scope and size of the restructuring program,” said Crane Co. president and chief executive officer Eric C. Fast. “The restructuring actions reflect a broad-based program to align the company’s cost-base to market conditions, and include several facility consolidations, severance and other related costs.
“Core revenue for 2009 is expected to decline approximately 7%, with lower demand anticipated across each of the five business segments,” he added. “The company noted that its earnings in the first half of 2009 are expected to be substantially lower than the second half of the year, reflecting the very difficult current economic conditions and because the full benefit of the cost savings initiatives, restructuring efforts and the anticipated reduction in aerospace engineering spending will not be realized until the latter part of 2009.”
Founded in 1855, Crane provides products and solutions to customers in aerospace, electronics, hydrocarbon processing, petrochemical, chemical, power generation, automated merchandising and transportation, among other markets. It has five business segments: Aerospace and Electronics, Engineered Materials, Merchandising Systems, Fluid Handling and Controls. The company has approximately 12,000 employees in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia.
Headquartered in St. Louis, Crane Merchandising Systems is composed of two solution-providing segments that enable seamless integration of equipment, vending management software and payment systems. Crane Vending Solutions, whose brands include National Vendors, Dixie-Narco, Automatic Products, GPL and Stentorfield, is a leading machine manufacturer. Crane’s Streamware business unit, which develops and markets management software, is part of the Vending Solutions segment.
Crane Payment Solutions is an alliance of Crane-owned companies CashCode, National Rejectors Inc. GmbH (NRI) and Telequip Corp. These businesses offer a wide range of innovative, reliable currency systems; all three are key suppliers to markets including global vending, gaming, retail and transportation.