STAMFORD, CT -- Crane Co. said Monday that its profit for the first quarter of 2011 increased 46% over last year, driven mainly by strong core sales growth in all segments. Quarterly earnings and revenues beat Wall Street's expectations. Crane's first quarter net profit was 81¢ a share on revenue of $611 million.
The 155-year-old company, which is best known for making pumps, valves, power and braking equipment, is also one of the world's largest manufacturers of full-line vending machines and automated payment systems.
Crane Merchandising Systems, one of five Crane Co. concerns, had sales of $94.9 million in the first quarter, an increase of $24.7 million, or a 35% improvement over the same period of 2010. The increase was attributed to $16.4 million of sales associated with Money Controls, which Crane acquired in December, as well as moderate sales growth of payment solutions and vending machines. The vending unit had a profit of $4.7 million, a slight decline from the prior year; the company said purchase accounting charges associated with Money Controls more than offset the impact of higher sales.
For all Crane companies combined, the first quarter's operating profit increased 37% to $72.9 million, compared with $53.3 million in the first quarter of 2010. The operating profit margin increased to 11.9%, compared with 10% a year ago.
During the quarter, the company said it sold a building and divested a small product line for a net gain of $4.3 million.
As a result of the strong companywide first quarter, the diversified manufacturer raised its outlook for fiscal year 2011. It forecast 2011 earnings of $3.05-$3.25 a share, on sales growth of 10%-12%. In January, Crane had forecast 2011 sales growth of 7%-9% and earnings of $2.80-$3 a share.
"I am pleased with our first quarter results as strong core revenue growth of 11% and solid execution produced a quarter that was considerably better than we anticipated," said Crane Co. president and chief executive Eric C. Fast. "With our late-cycle Aerospace and Fluid Handling businesses clearly gaining momentum, we are raising our full-year sales, EPS and cashflow guidance."