The Glenview, Illinois-based company reported earnings of $607 million, or $1.83 a share, beating analysts' expectations of $1.82. The company reported a year-earlier loss $76 million, or 22 cents a share.
A year ago the company was trading at $172.60 a share.
Revenue totaled $3.58 billion, as 1% organic growth was more than offset by the impact of foreign currency translation, the company said. Analysts had expected revenue of $3.62 billion.
For the year, the company reported profit of $2.56 billion, or $7.60 a share. Revenue totaled $14.77 billion.
Scott Santi, chairman and CEO, said in a statement that the company grew earnings per share by 15%, expanded operating margins by 60 basis points to a record 24.3%, grew free cash flow 10% and returned $3 billion cash to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases.
"The fact that we achieved these results despite significant raw material cost headwinds and a decline in auto builds in North America, Europe and China clearly demonstrates the power of ITW's highly differentiated business model and the resilience of our high quality diversified business portfolio," Santi said.
For the first quarter of 2019, the company expects earnings of $1.73 to $1.83 a share. The company said this includes higher estimated restructuring expense of 7 cents a share, foreign currency translation headwind of 7 cents a share and a tax rate in the range of 24.5% to 25.5%, which represents a 5-cents-a-share headwind year over year.
Illinois Tool Works said it expects full-year earnings to be $7.90 to $8.20 a share.