STAMFORD, CT -- Crane Merchandising Systems, the vending equipment manufacturer belonging to the Crane Co. group, reported sales of $87.7 million for the first quarter of 2012, compared with $94.9 million for the same period last year. The 8% decline reflects lower sales of payment systems and, to a lesser extent, vending machines.
CMS's first-quarter operating profit of $4.7 million, the same amount registered in last year's first quarter, includes costs incurred to settle a lawsuit.
Crane said productivity improvements offset the "deleverage" impact of the vending division's lower sales. CMS reported a profit margin of 5.4% in this year's first quarter, compared with 4.9% last year.
Merchandising Systems, with offices in St. Louis, MO, and manufacturing in Williston, SC, is one of five organizations held by Stamford, CT-based Crane Co., which describes itself as a diversified manufacturer of highly engineered industrial products. Other units are involved in aerospace, electronics, controls, engineering materials and fluid handling.
Companywide, Crane Co. reported that 2012's first-quarter earnings per diluted share increased 8% to 88¢, compared with 81¢ in the first quarter of 2011. Sales for the quarter increased to $658 million, or 8%, from $611 million in last year's first quarter. The company's operating profit increased $79.6 million, or 9%, compared with $72.9 million a year ago, and its operating profit margin increased to 12.1%, compared with 11.9%.
"Record first-quarter earnings were driven by our Aerospace & Electronics and Fluid Handling segments, which are benefiting from their exposure to late cycle end markets," said Crane Co. president and chief executive Eric C. Fast. "We have started off 2012 with robust demand in our later, longer-cycle businesses, including strong orders and a growing backlog. We are on track to deliver full-year EPS in line with our $3.75 to $3.95 guidance and free cashflow in the range of $160 million to $190 million."