Contractor segment sales decreased 4 percent for the quarter and were flat year-to-date. Sales for the quarter decreased 5 percent in both the Americas and in Asia Pacific and increased 1 percent in Europe (9 percent at consistent translation rates). Year-to-date sales increased 1 percent in the Americas, decreased 6 percent in Europe (increased 1 percent at consistent translation rates) and increased 8 percent in Asia Pacific. Lower sales volume, product mix and higher marketing and general spending led to lower third quarter operating earnings in the Contractor segment. Year-to-date operating earnings as a percentage of sales are consistent with last year.
Lubrication segment sales increased 7 percent for the quarter and 11 percent year-to-date. Sales for the quarter increased 13 percent in the Americas, 8 percent in Europe (15 percent at consistent translation rates) and decreased 11 percent in Asia Pacific. Year-to-date sales increased 15 percent in the Americas, decreased 2 percent in Europe (3 percent increase at consistent translation rates) and increased 4 percent in Asia Pacific. Higher volume and leveraging of expenses led to improved operating earnings in the Lubrication segment.
On April 2, 2012, the Company completed the purchase of the finishing businesses of Illinois Tool Works Inc., first announced in April 2011. The acquisition includes Powder Finishing and Liquid Finishing equipment operations, technologies and brands. Results of the Powder Finishing business have been included in the Industrial segment since the date of acquisition.In December 2011, the United States Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) filed a formal complaint to challenge the proposed acquisition on the grounds that the addition of the Liquid Finishing business to Graco would be anti-competitive, a position which Graco denied. In March 2012, the FTC issued an order (the “Hold Separate Order”) that allowed the acquisition to proceed to closing on April 2, 2012, subject to certain conditions while it evaluated a settlement proposal from Graco. Pursuant to the Hold Separate Order, the Liquid Finishing business was to be held separate from the rest of Graco’s businesses until the FTC determined which portions, if any, of the Liquid Finishing business Graco must divest.