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TheStreet Open House

Graco Reports Record Fourth Quarter And Annual Sales - Fourth Quarter Profitability And EPS Growth Driven By Strong Operating Performance

In May 2012, the FTC issued a proposed decision and order (the “Decision and Order”) which requires Graco to sell the Liquid Finishing business assets, no later than 180 days from the date the order becomes final. The FTC has not yet issued its final Decision and Order. The Company has retained the services of an investment bank to help it market the Liquid Finishing businesses and identify potential buyers. The sale process is expected to be completed within the 180 days allowed by the Decision and Order.

While it seeks a buyer, Graco must continue to hold the Liquid Finishing businesses separate from its other businesses and maintain them as viable and competitive. In accordance with the Hold Separate Order, the Liquid Finishing businesses are managed independently by experienced Liquid Finishing business managers, under the supervision of a trustee appointed by the FTC, who reports directly to the FTC.

Under terms of the Hold Separate Order, the Company does not control the Liquid Finishing businesses, nor is it able to exert influence over the Liquid Finishing operations. Consequently, the Company’s investment in the Liquid Finishing businesses has been reflected as a cost-method investment, and its financial results have not been consolidated with those of the Company. Income is recognized based on dividends received from current earnings and is included in other income.

The Liquid Finishing businesses generated sales of $63 million and EBITDA of $12 million in the fourth quarter, both of which were increases compared to the prior year. Sales and EBITDA for the nine-month period since completion of the purchase were $199 million and $39 million, respectively.

Outlook

"We expect growth in every region of the world in 2013," said Mr. McHale. "In the Americas, the continued recovery in the construction market should provide a tailwind for both our Contractor and Industrial segments. Further, we expect the general economic environment for industrial manufacturing to remain stable in the United States through 2013. Although the economies of Western Europe are still struggling to find their footing, we expect growth from the emerging markets of Eastern Europe to drive moderate growth in the EMEA region in 2013. While our Asia Pacific region will continue to face weak economic conditions and difficult comparables into the first half of 2013, we are hopeful that the business will gain momentum as the year progresses. With a modest increase in volumes, we expect factory performance in 2013 to remain solid and continue to drive profitability. The Graco team is focused on executing our strategies for growth in 2013."

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