Friday, April 22, 2011

Distributors continue strong performance

Applied Industrial, others cite solid gains driven by strength in the industrial sector

Citing continued strength in the manufacturing sector, some of the industry's largest publicly traded distributors reported solid sales and earnings this week.

Power transmission/motion control distributor Applied Industrial Technologies reported sales of $566 million for its fiscal third quarter, a 16% increase compared to the same period last year. Company chairman and CEO David Pugh said the results were fueled by a solid industrial economy.

"While we expect this economy to continue its recovery and to deliver a positive ongoing impact, such issues as oil prices and geo-political events dictate that we also maintain a focus on the underlying fundamentals of our business," Pugh said in a statement announcing the results this week.

Applied's results followed a similar strong performance from power transmission/motion control distributor Motion Industries last week. Motion's parent company, Genuine Parts Co., cited a 24% gain for Motion in the first quarter as sales rose to $999.7 million comapred to the same period a year ago. GPC also noted strong performance for EIS, Inc., its electrical group, which genreated a 39% sales increase.

"Both Motion Industries and EIS sell into the manufacturing sector of the economy, which began its recovery in 2010 and continues to perform well today," Thomas C. Gallagher, GPC's chairman, president and CEO said in a statement announcing the results.

Other distributors citing strong results this week include W.W. Grainger, which posted first-quarter sales of $1.9 billion, up 13% compared to the same period last year, and WESCO International, which reported a 25% sales gain in the first quarter, to $1.43 billion.

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