Rob has been with the company for ten year, most recently as Vice President and Corporate Controller, and has been involved as strategic activities, such as the acquisitions of VAC and EaglePicher. He knows the company very well, and will help us get the story out to the investment community.
So let’s get started on slide 3, I’m pleased to report that we started the New Year with solid results in the first quarter of 2012. Despite low cobalt prices sales and profitability are higher than the prior year. This performance is based largely on the strength of VAC, which we acquired last August and EaglePicher which we acquired in 2010. These two businesses form the foundations of our newest strategic platforms; Magnetic Technologies and Battery Technologies. They both accounted for a substantial portion of our first quarter performance, underscoring the progress we’ve made in our strategic transformation over the past few years.
As anticipated in our last call with you, our businesses faced challenges, including lower metal prices, customer disruptions from the Thailand flooding, and the economic pressures on some of our European customers. In spite of these challenges as a result of our portfolio diversification, we were able to deliver solid and improved financial results. Compared with last year, sales grew 41%, while adjusted EBITDA grew 42%.
Cash flow was very good in the month of March, reversing the trends of January and February. We anticipate generating strong cash flows during the second quarter and for the full year driven by lower working capital levels. Our first quarter results included positive rare-earth pricing effects, similar to our second half results from last year.Slide four provides an overview of our business portfolio. Advanced Materials or Cobalt franchise contributed $15 million of adjusted EBITDA during the first quarter, this is a great business with market leading positions and is a consistent generator of cash. However, it does have significant exposure to metal prices.