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Diversified manufacturer Crane Co., Stamford, CT, reported first quarter sales of $555.1 million, down 18% from the first quarter of 2008. Profit declined 51.8% to $23.3 million.
First quarter 2009 sales decreased $123.7 million, or 18%, including a core business decline of $107.8 million (16%) and unfavorable foreign currency translation of $49.3 million (7%), partially offset by an increase in sales from acquired businesses of $33.3 million (5%).
While our sales and earnings declined significantly from our record first quarter 2008 results, our earnings were in line with our expectations, said Eric C. Fast, president and CEO.
Excluding two acquisitions in 2008, headcount has been reduced by 1,600 people, or 13%, since year end 2007, of which 700 occurred in the first quarter of 2009. An expanded cost reduction program is expected to offset the impact of lower than expected sales.
In the Aerospace & Electronics segment, sales decreased 4.1% to $151.9 million. The drop is primarily a result of the decline in OEM demand. Segment operating profit increased by $1.2 million as a result of higher profits in Electronics.
Reflecting further weakening demand from recreational vehicle, transportation and, to a lesser extent, building products end markets, Engineered Materials segment sales were down 54% to $38.2 million. Headcount has been reduced by 45% compared to year end 2007 levels and other cost reduction initiatives are being implemented as part of the Restructuring Program. The Grand Junction, TN, facility ceased manufacturing operations at the end of March, and production was transferred to other Crane facilities.
Merchandising Systems sales declined $41.8 million, or 37%, reflecting a sharp decline in Vending sales and, to a lesser extent, a sales decline in the Payment Solutions businesses. Headcount was reduced by about 21% compared to year end 2007 levels. During the first quarter of 2009, Crane announced that as part of its Restructuring Program it will consolidate its vending machine production from St. Louis, MO, into its Williston, SC, facility during the fourth quarter.
First quarter 2009 Fluid Handling segment sales decreased $22 million, or 8%. The core sales decline of 5% was broad-based and reflected weakness in the short-cycle businesses, including the Building Services and Utilities business in the UK, commercial valves in North America, and MRO products for chemical and pharmaceutical businesses.
Controls segment sales declined 24.7% to $26.8 million, reflecting deterioration in the oil & gas and transportation end markets.