CLEVELAND -- Applied Industrial Technologies recently reported first quarter fiscal 2012 sales and earnings for the three months ended September 30, 2011.
Net sales for the first quarter increased 9.9% to a record $579,574,000 from $527,501,000 in the comparable period a year ago. Net income for the quarter increased 27.1% to $26,382,000 or $0.61 per share compared to $20,755,000 or $0.48 per share last year.
Commenting on the Company's performance, Applied's Chairman & Chief Executive Officer David L. Pugh said, "We are pleased to report a solid start to the fiscal year with continued growth and profitability for the quarter. Our sales growth combined with a continuing emphasis on managing the operating fundamentals allowed us to post strong earnings.
"Of notable significance, we generated a first quarter operating margin of 7.5%, up from 6.6% a year ago. Our strong performance is a result of numerous ongoing strategic initiatives, including a continuing focus on cost control and asset management, that serve to increase our efficiency and productivity.
"As we look ahead, we see an industrial market that is experiencing real growth and offers continued opportunities for expansion," stated Benjamin J. Mondics, President and Chief Operating Officer for Applied. "Based on the current state of the industrial economy, we are maintaining our full fiscal 2012 guidance for earnings per share between $2.40 and $2.55, on expected sales of $2.35 billion to $2.45 billion."
During the first quarter of fiscal 2012, the company purchased 640,000 shares of its common stock in open market transactions for $18.2 million.
On October 17, 2011, Applied announced that Neil A. Schrimsher, age 47, would succeed David L. Pugh as the Company's CEO. Mr. Pugh is retiring effective today after nearly 13 years of service to Applied. Mr. Schrimsher, formerly Executive Vice President of Cooper Industries, will assume those duties following today's annual shareholder meeting.
Applied also announced that the Company's Board of Directors has declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.19 per common share, payable on November 30, 2011, to shareholders of record on November 15, 2011.
Additionally, Applied's Board of Directors today authorized the company to repurchase up to 1,500,000 shares of the company's common stock. This authorization replaces the previous one under which 1,492,400 shares were purchased through September 30, 2011. The new authorization represents approximately 3% of the shares currently outstanding. These purchases can be made in open market and negotiated transactions, from time-to-time, depending upon market conditions.