BLUFFTON, Ind., Feb. 28, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Franklin Electric Co., Inc. (Nasdaq:FELE) reported fourth quarter 2010 diluted earnings per share of $0.36, an increase of 9 percent compared to 2009 fourth quarter diluted earnings per share of $0.33. In the fourth quarter of 2010, the Company recognized charges for legal matters that resulted in a reduction to earnings per share of $0.03 per share. Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 2010 before restructuring and legal matters would have been $0.39, an increase of 15 percent compared to the prior year. Fourth quarter 2010 sales were $175.0 million, an increase of 21 percent compared to 2009 fourth quarter sales of $144.9 million. For the full year 2010, diluted earnings per share were $1.66, an increase of 48 percent compared to 2009 diluted earnings per share of $1.12. Earnings per share before restructuring charges were $1.81, an increase of 40 percent versus the prior year. In 2010, the Company also recognized charges for legal matters that resulted in a reduction to earnings per share of $0.13. Diluted earnings per share for the full year of 2010 before restructuring and legal matters would have been $1.94, an increase of 50 percent compared to the prior year. Full year 2010 sales were $713.8 million, an increase of 14 percent compared to 2009 sales of $626.0 million. Scott Trumbull, Franklin Chairman and Chief Executive, commented: "The fourth quarter was a solid ending to a very good year for Franklin Electric. During the quarter our consolidated sales grew organically by 15 percent; our gross profit margin improved by 90 basis points compared to the year ago quarter as we more than offset rising material costs with operating leverage on higher sales. We also announced pricing actions that should be effective in the second quarter of 2011. Our selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") spending rate was unusually high during the fourth quarter as we incurred higher compensation related charges, concluded some long standing legal matters and included the addition of Petrotechnik. We are firmly committed to reducing SG&A costs as a percentage of sales during 2011.