The Company incurred restructuring charges for the third quarter of $1.1 million after-tax, principally related to severance costs in the Europe, North America/HME and Asia/Pacific segments. These restructuring charges are excluded from adjusted earnings per share (a).
Earnings per share on a GAAP basis for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 were $0.29 ($9.1 million net earnings) as compared to earnings per share for the same period last year of $0.95 ($30.9 million net earnings). Net earnings for the first nine months of 2012 were negatively impacted by incremental regulatory and compliance costs related to quality systems improvements of $0.54 per share ($17.3 million after-tax expense), a discrete tax expense related to prior years of $0.29 per share ($9.2 million after-tax expense) which is a non-cash charge in the current year for a matter that is under audit and being contested by the Company and charges related to restructuring of $0.11 per share ($3.6 million after-tax expense). Net earnings for the first nine months of 2012 included an expense of $0.01 per share ($0.3 million after-tax expense) for early debt extinguishment charges compared to $0.75 per share ($24.2 million after-tax expense) of early debt extinguishment charges in the same period a year ago. Net earnings for the first nine months of 2011 also were positively impacted by $0.16 per share ($5.1 million tax benefit) as a result of a tax settlement in Germany.
Adjusted earnings per share (a) were $0.76 for the first nine months of 2012 as compared to $1.36 for the first nine months of 2011. Adjusted net earnings (b) for the first nine months of 2012 were $24.2 million versus $44.1 million last year. The decline in adjusted net earnings (b) was primarily driven by increased SG&A expense attributable to incremental regulatory and compliance costs related to quality systems improvements of $11.6 million after-tax expense ($17.3 million pre-tax expense), a reduced gross margin and lower net sales partially offset by decreased interest expense and a lower effective tax rate on adjusted pre-tax earnings.
Net sales for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 decreased 0.7% to $1.34 billion versus $1.35 billion for the same period last year. Organic net sales for the nine months ended September 30, 2012 increased 0.4% over the same period last year as increases for Europe, ISG and IPG segments were offset by declines for the North America/HME and Asia/Pacific segments.