STAMFORD, CT -- Crane Co. reported sales of $94.2 million by its merchandising systems unit in the fourth quarter of 2012, a 9% increase compared with same period a year ago. Crane said the improvement reflects growth in the segment's two business areas, payment systems and vending solutions. The segment's operating profit and margins increased, reflecting the impact of the higher sales and productivity gains in both areas.
Crane Merchandising Systems, with offices in St. Louis, MO, and manufacturing facilities in Williston, SC, is one of five organizations held by Stamford, CT-based Crane Co., a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products. Other units are involved in aerospace, electronics, controls, engineering materials and fluid handling.
Companywide, Crane Co. posted pre-share quarterly earnings from continuing operations of 79¢ a share, up sharply from a net loss of $2.18 a share in the fourth quarter of 2011. The recent-quarter results included after-tax charges of $4 million, or 7¢ a share, associated with costs related to Crane Co.'s pending acquisition of MEI Conlux Holdings and "repositioning" actions. In December, Crane Co. announced that it had agreed to purchase 100% equity interest in payment systems giant MEI from Bain Capital and Advantage Partners for approximately $820 million on a cash- and debt-free basis. | SEE STORY
Crane Co.'s fourth quarter sales from continuing operations rose 1.6%, or $10 million, to $630 million, from the comparable year-earlier period. Operating profit from continuing operations in the recent fourth quarter was $76.2 million, compared with an operating loss of $194 million in the fourth quarter of 2011.
For the full year, sales from continuing operations in 2012 were $2.58 billion, up 3.1% from $2.5 billion in 2011. Operating profit from continuing operations was $310.4 million in 2012 compared to $36.6 million in 2011. Full-year earnings per diluted share were $3.72, up from 44¢ a share in 2011.
"In 2013, we are expecting our third consecutive year of record earnings, with continued operating margin expansion and strong free cash flow," said Crane Co. chief executive Eric C. Fast. "Our 2013 forecast does not include the recently announced acquisition of MEI which, in combination with Crane Payment Solutions, establishes a third large growth platform for Crane."
The company revised its preliminary 2013 guidance to be in a range of $4.10 to $4.30, representing an increase of 11% to 16% over 2012 earnings a share of $3.70.
Excluding one-time transaction and integration costs, the company expects MEI to be accretive to earnings within the first year of acquisition by approximately 25¢ a share, including 5¢ in synergies.
Separately, Crane Co. announced its regular quarterly dividend of 28¢ a share for the first quarter of 2013. The dividend is payable on March 8, 2013 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on Feb. 28.