Anixter International distributes electrical and electronic wire & cable, fasteners, and communication products for a host of industries.

For the first quarter of 2011, sales increased 19% from the year-earlier period to $1.52 billion. The acquisition of Clark Security Products and higher copper prices boosted top-line growth during the quarter.

Operational cash flow was $5.5 million, vs. $74.7 million in the year-ago quarter. Higher working capital requirements during the quarter reduced cash flows, but contributed to robust sales growth in this period.

Prudent gross margin management and improved sales mix lifted operating performance. Operating profit increased 46% year over year to $83.1 million. Lower tax rates related to international operations boosted net income to $44.3 million.

On average, analysts expect the stock to gain 34% over the next year. The stock has a price-to-earnings ratio of 12 (using 2011 earnings estimates). Sixty-four percent of analysts covering the stock rate it a buy.

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