Friday, May 6, 2011

Industrial distributors continue strong performance

Kaman Industrial Technologies, DXP Enterprises and others post double-digit sales gains in the first quarter

For proof that U.S. manufacturing activity remains strong and is leading the economic recovery, look no further than some of this week’s earnings reports from some of the largest industrial distributors in North America.

Double-digit sales gains for companies like Kaman Industrial Technologies, Airgas and DXP Enterprises came on top of yet another strong economic report from the Institute for Supply Management, which reported this week that its Purchasing Manager’s Index remained above 60 in April, marking the 21st straight month of growth in the manufacturing sector. A PMI of higher than 50 indicates growth; a PMI of less than 50 indicates contraction.

Here’s a look at some of the quarterly distribution results released this week:

Sales grew 33% for Kaman Industrial Technologies, reaching a record $239 million compared to $179 million a year ago. The results reflect growth from acquisitions made in 2010 and a healthier business environment compared to the same period a year ago, the company said.

Airgas reported fiscal fourth-quarter sales of $1.1 billion, an increase of 12% over the prior year. Total same-store sales increased 11%, with hardgoods up 14% and gas and rent up 9%.

Sequentially, total sales increased 7% from the third quarter and sales per day increased 3%. Net earnings were $63 million, or 74 cents per share.

The company cited strength in manufacturing, medical, utilities and petrochemical industries.
For the full year, Airgas’ sales increased 10% from the prior year to $4.3 billion. Net earnings for the year were $250 million, or $2.93 per diluted share.

At DXP Enterprises, first-quarter sales rose 25% to $183 million, compared to $147 million in the same period a year ago.

Net income rose nearly 77% to $6.3 million, or 42 cents per share, compared to $3.6 million, or 26 cents per share a year ago.

The company cited improvement in all if its end markets, particularly oil and gas.

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