Black & Decker's 1st-quarter profit nearly doubled

April 21, 2004|By Meredith Cohn | Meredith Cohn,SUN STAFF

Black & Decker Corp. said yesterday that its first-quarter earnings nearly doubled to $86.6 million, boosted by strong sales of tools, especially the DeWalt brand.

Earnings at the Towson-based manufacturer and marketer of power tools and accessories rose to $1.09 a diluted share, compared with 55 cents, or $43.4 million, in the first quarter last year. The current results included an $11.7 million gain from the sale of discontinued businesses.

Net income from continuing operations in the three months that ended March 28 rose 72 percent to $74.3 million, or 93 cents a diluted share, a penny more than the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Sales rose 16 percent to $1.09 billion from $939.2 million in the year-earlier quarter. "Our strong market positions, together with an improving economy, drove sales growth at a high single-digit rate before acquisitions in our North American businesses," Nolan D. Archibald, company chairman and chief executive, said in a statement. "We are especially pleased with results in the DeWalt Professional Products division, which answered competitive challenges with a double-digit rate of sales growth."

New DeWalt products that sold well were cordless wrenches, reciprocating saws and a line of laser optical instruments.

A restructuring at the company that began in 2002 generated $20 million in savings in the quarter.

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