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(NYSE: GGG) today announced results for the first quarter ended March 30, 2012.
$ in millions except per share amounts
Thirteen Weeks Ended
Diluted Net Earnings
per Common Share
Sales increased in all divisions and regions.
Gross margin rate remained strong at 56 percent.
Operating expenses included $4 million related to the acquisition of ITW’s finishing businesses.
Product development expenses were $2 million higher than last year, reflecting our continuing investment in new products and technology.
Interest expense was $3 million higher than last year due to higher debt levels.
Changes in currency translation rates did not have a significant effect on consolidated results. Favorable translation effects in Asia Pacific offset unfavorable effects in Europe.
“The first quarter was strong for Graco, reflecting good execution throughout the Company and continued demand by customers worldwide,” said Patrick J. McHale, Graco’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “As expected, growth rates moderated somewhat in the quarter from the prior record-level sales achieved in the first quarter of 2011. Growth in the Americas at 9 percent was better than expected, driven by double-digit increases in the Lubrication and Industrial segments. North American paint channel sales were also healthy in the first quarter, growing double-digits compared to the prior year. Sales in the Asia Pacific region grew at 10 percent (8 percent at consistent translation rates), with double-digit increases in the Lubrication and Contractor segments. In the European region, sales grew at 3 percent (6 percent at consistent translation rates), reflecting strong Industrial segment growth that was offset by macroeconomic conditions, which weighed on our Contractor segment.