A supplemental financial presentation has been produced, which provides a summary of certain financial and end market information to be reviewed in today’s commentary by management. We have posted this presentation on our corporate website and filed it with the Securities and Exchange Commission.The conference call may include forward-looking statements and therefore actual results may differ materially from expectations. For additional information on WESCO International, please refer to the company’s SEC filings, including the risk factors described therein. The following presentation may also include a discussion of certain non-GAAP financial measures. Information required by Regulation G with respect to such non-GAAP financial measures can be obtained via WESCO’s website at www.wesco.com. I would now like to turn the conference call over to John Engel. John Engel – President, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer Thank you Dan and good morning everyone. Our second quarter results are excellent and reflect a continuation of the strong business momentum that we have been generating since early last year. Organic sales net of acquisitions and foreign exchange grew 13% in the second quarter marking the fourth consecutive quarter of double-digit organic sales growth. This sales trend is continuing in July. Backlog which also grew double-digits was up 21% versus last year and up 9% sequentially in the second quarter. Execution of our growth strategies is on track and is producing positive results. We are encouraged that customers are responding well to our One WESCO initiative to actively shell and support our entire portfolio of products and services across their operations. We experienced organic sales growth in all four of our end markets and in all six of our major product categories in the second quarter. Sales in new industrial construction utility and CIG end markets grew 18%, 13%, 6%, and 3% respectively versus last year. Sales outside the United States and Canada grew 20% versus last year and sales to government customers were up 25%.
The U.S. construction sales were also up double-digits and grew 12% versus last year, despite a very weak end market. Sales of our data communication products were up 11% on a year-to-date basis and 1% in the second quarter versus prior year. We significantly built backlog in data communications during the quarter growing over 30% sequentially and backlog is currently at a record high. We are in the middle of a successful conversion of the information and technology platform of our data communication operations. While the conversion is going very well, it did impact billings for the second quarter. We are seeing a rebound in billing with rates through the first half of July up low double-digits.We expanded gross margins to over 20% in the second quarter against the backdrop of what continues to be a very challenging competitive environment. The second quarter results highlight the effectiveness of our sales and marketing programs and demonstrate our continued ability to take advantage of growth opportunities, while profitably capturing share and improving our market position. The three acquisitions that we made over the last year are also exceeding expectations and have strengthened our business. Acquisitions contributed approximately $0.10 to our reported earnings per share in the second quarter and contributed a total of $0.19 in the first half, which puts us at a run rate well above our full year expectations. Our acquisition pipeline is the largest that it has ever been and we see excellent opportunities to contribute to strengthen our portfolio in 2011. In addition we continued to de-leverage our capital structure and increased our liquidity in the second quarter. We have the capacity and financial flexibility to fund our strategy of above market organic growth plus accretive requisitions. Overall, execution of our sales growth and margin improvement initiative have translated into strong financial results. Operating margins of 5.6%, net income of $50 million, and EPS of $1 in the second quarter were up 150 basis points, 81% and $0.40 respectively over last year.
The operating margin expansion was the result of an effective combination of gross margin expansion and operating cost leverage. Operating profitable pull through was over 60% for our core business in the second quarter and is above our long-run target of 50%. The strength, diversity and operating leverage of our business model are clearly reflected in the improving profitability of our business.Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com