Crane Earnings Rise

Plus, the CEO plans to exercise some options.
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Crane

(CR) - Get Report

, a diversified manufacturer of engineered industrial products, said first-quarter earnings jumped 49.6%, led by strong performance in its fluid handling, aerospace and electronics segments.

The company earned $37.4 million, or 61 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $25 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 52 cents a share.

First-quarter sales rose 8.3% to $549.4 million as against analysts' expectation of $ 525.3 million.

Revenue at company's fluid handling division rose 7% to $245.3 and operating profit rose 96%, led by strong market demand, productivity improvements and price increases. Revenue at its aerospace and electronics segment rose 7% to $142.4 million.

The company expects to earn 62 cents a share to 70 cents a share in the second quarter as against analysts' expectation of 63 cents a share.

For the full year, the Stamford-Conn.-based company said that looking at its performance in the first quarter, including the acquisition of CashCode, it has raised its earnings outlook to $2.50 a share to $2.65 a share, up from previous forecast of $2.45 a share to $2.60 a share, as against analysts' expectation of $2.52 a share.

The company's order backlog at the end of the quarter totaled $621.6 million, compared with $612.6 million last year.

Crane also said CEO Eric Fast plans to exercise 200,000 options and sell the shares. The options, granted in late 1999 and early 2000 just after Fast joined Crane, are struck at just below $20, well below the stock's recent price of $43.02. The options represent 11% of Fast's holdings.

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