We are pleased with the results of our first quarter ended August 31, 2011. RPM's entrepreneurial structure and strategy, which allows for quick decisions and adjustments to market conditions and opportunities, combined with a deliberate balance between businesses serving consumer and industrial markets, were both critical elements to our ability to generate double-digit sales and earnings growth despite the choppy economic conditions in our core markets and another quarter of significant raw material cost challenges.Our high-performance industrial coating products lines generated strong growth, given the continuing rebound in Industrial maintenance and capital spending, as well as their broad global market presence. It is clear to us that our Building Solutions Group product lines are gaining market share in a number of areas, as its modest sales and earnings growth in the quarter is much stronger than the underlying fundamentals of the new home and commercial construction markets, both of which remain depressed. New product introductions and certain market share gains led to an uptick in our Consumer segment business growth in the quarter as well. I'd now like to turn the call over to Bob Matejka to provide more details on our first quarter results, after which we'll provide comments on our outlook for the balance of the year and take your questions. Bob? Robert L. Matejka Thanks, Frank, and good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us on today's call. I'll review the results of operations and cash flow activities for our fiscal 2012 first quarter, touch upon a few August 31 balance sheet measures, and then I'll turn it back to Frank for closing comments before we take your questions. Starting with fiscal 2012 first quarter results. Consolidated net sales increased 10.2% year-over-year to $985.9 million, driven by price increases of 2.8%, volume improvement of 2.3%, acquisition growth of 1% and favorable foreign exchange rates of 4.1%. The Industrial segment net sales of $667 million, which account for approximately 68% of sales increased 10.7% over last year with favorable price of 2.6%, volume improvement of 1.5%, acquisition growth of 1.6% and favorable foreign exchange movements of 5%.
At the Consumer segment, net sales for the $318.9 million increased by over 9% from the prior year, with 4% attributable to unit volume growth, 3.2% from positive price and 2% as a result of favorable foreign exchange rates. Our consolidated gross profit increased to $409.6 million from $375.4 million last year, principally due to volume and price increases. As a percent of sales, gross profit declined by 50 basis points to 41.5% due to continued increases in raw material costs.Consolidated SG&A increased 7.8% to $273.1 million due to variable cost increases associated with our higher sales volumes. As a percent of net sales, SG&A decreased to 27.7% of sales from 28.4% last year, a reduction of 70 basis points, principally due to better overall leverage from the higher net sales. Earnings before interest and taxes increased 11.9% to $136.5 million this year from $122 million last year due to the higher sales volumes, realized price increases and improved SG&A leverage. The combination of which were partially offset by higher raw material costs. As a percent of sales, EBIT improved from 13.6% last year to 13.8% this year. At the Industrial segment, EBIT increased 10.9% to $92.5 million from $83.3 million a year ago driven by 10.7% increase in sales, combined with stable SG&A leverage, which partially offset higher raw material costs. As a percent of net sales, Industrial EBIT improved slightly from 13.8% last year to 13.9% this year. Consumer segment EBIT increased 5% to $51.5 million from $49 million last year. As a percent of sales, Consumer segment EBIT decreased to 16.1% from 16.8% last year as a result of higher raw material costs and an inability to completely offset those higher costs with better SG&A leverage. The corporate and other EBIT costs decreased $7.5 million -- they decreased to $7.5 million for the year from $10.4 million in fiscal 2011, principally due to an insurance reimbursement, which was partially offset by higher compensation and benefit expenses and an increase in acquisition expenses year-over-year. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com