Secondly, we have hired an experienced consultant to help us develop approaches to better leverage our opportunities for strategic sourcing initiatives across the company. We're in the later stages of gathering data, and we believe this ongoing initiative will add significant value in terms of how we purchase key raw materials such as steel, resins and chemicals, as well as services such as energy, transportation and logistics and other major cost categories.
Finally, our portfolio management initiative is built around our long-term strategy to divest assets that we no longer consider core and will allow us to focus on key core business opportunities, with strong growth and returns that will help us maximize our long-term returns.
The April sale of our $375 million finishing businesses to Graco is the most recent example of our commitment to proactive portfolio management. I would like to add that our management team and company are fully committed to all these initiatives. These are multi-year programs that will enhance our decentralized operating structure. We expect the associated strategic benefits and savings from these initiatives will be significant, and we anticipate communicating some reasonable details around these initiatives before the end of 2012.
Now moving on to the first quarter. We believe we delivered very solid results, especially in light of the uneven macro environment. As you will see, our North American businesses produced strong results, while international businesses reflected slower market conditions, primarily in Europe and Asia.It's worth noting that Europe end-market conditions have met our expectations for the first quarter. It's also notable that both our EPS performance and operating margins exceeded our expectations. Congratulations to our people for a job well done in the quarter.Now let me turn it over to Ronald Kropp, who will discuss the recent quarter in greater detail. Ron?Ronald D. KroppThank you, David. Good morning, everyone. Here are the highlights for the first quarter.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com
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