Operating earnings as a percentage of sales were steady in all segments compared to the first quarter of last year.
Finishing Brands Acquisition
On April 2, 2012, Graco closed on its $650 million acquisition of the Illinois Tool Works Inc. (NYSE: ITW) finishing businesses. The acquisition added Gema®, a global leader in powder coating technology, which represented approximately one-third of the purchase. The remaining two-thirds of the acquisition is a collection of industrial liquid finishing businesses, which the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) has ordered to be held separate from Gema and other Graco businesses while the FTC investigates and considers a settlement proposal from Graco. In compliance with the FTC's order, the industrial liquid finishing businesses will be run independently by existing management under the supervision of a trustee who reports directly to the FTC.
At the completion of its review, the FTC will issue a final decision and order that will identify the products, businesses and/or assets that Graco will be required to divest. The Company will have 180 days following the issuance of the final decision and order to complete such divestiture.Outlook “We remain optimistic that the Company will achieve growth in all geographies and business segments for the full-year 2012, but caution that the Western European economies and select construction markets are challenging,” said McHale. “The demand environment in the Americas continues to be favorable, if not resilient. While we have noted some weakening of industrial project activity in our Asia Pacific region recently, we believe that growth will continue throughout 2012. We will be watching worldwide order trends closely throughout the year and expect that product launches scheduled for the second half of 2012 will help to countervail softness.” Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements A forward-looking statement is any statement made in this earnings release and other reports that the Company files periodically with the Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as in press releases, analyst briefings, conference calls and the Company’s Overview report to shareholders, which reflects the Company’s current thinking on market trends and the Company’s future financial performance at the time they are made. All forecasts and projections are forward-looking statements. The Company undertakes no obligation to update these statements in light of new information or future events.