Our tax rate was actually a headwind in the quarter. In the third quarter last year, it's only 25.9%. As most of you would know third quarter results tend to have whatever rollover there is in 1040A calculation for filing tax returns. This year our tax rate was 27.7%, a 180 basis points increase over the prior year, which took a couple of pennies out of our results.
Net earnings were $110 million, up 31% from the prior year, and our diluted earnings per share were $1.12 versus $0.87.
Next slide, free cash flow in the quarter was truly spectacular, 22% of revenue and a 142% of net earnings. This will be the 14 th consecutive year that our free cash flow has exceeded net earnings. And really, we had very strong execution throughout the family of businesses, and you can see the comparisons prior-year here on the graph.
Next slide, we had quite substantial EBITDA growth. I’m not sure people caught up to just how much our trailing EBITDA continues to grow. We’re up 33% in EBITDA over the prior-year and our trailing 12-month EBITDA now entering the third quarter is $779 million. That's up from $585 million in the corresponding trailing 12 month period ended in the third quarter of ‘10, and up from $507 million in 2009. Part of the reason for that is continued margin expansion. Our EBITDA margins in 2009 were 24.5% for that TTM period. In 2010, they were up 140 basis points to 25.9% and this year, as they get skyrocketed to 28.5% from 25.9%Next slide, our Asset Velocity performance continues to be best in class. We can see inventory has actually dropped to 7.4% from 8.9% just two years ago. Our receivables are down 200 basis points to 14.7% from 16.7%, just a terrific performance by all of our field operating units around receivables. And payables and accruals have actually come down and our numbers would be even more spectacular. Also in total, when we look at the inventory plus receivables minus payables on accruals, we finished the quarter at 6.5%, that’s 240 basis points better than just two years ago. So our exceptional performance in that category continues. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com
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