Electrical and HVAC manufacturer Thomas & Betts Corporation, Memphis, TN, reported sales increased 7.4% in the first quarter 2007 to $474.6 million. Price increases to offset higher material and energy costs and volume improvements contributed to the sales increase. Profit was down slightly from the prior-year period.   ; Thomas & Betts reported that demand remains positive in industrial and utility markets and is starting to strengthen in commercial construction markets.   ; Electrical segment sales were $389.2 million in the first quarter, up 8.8% compared to the first quarter 2006. Electrical segment earnings were $64.9 million in the quarter, up 11.4% compared to the first quarter 2006. As a percent of sales, segment earnings were 16.7%.   ; Sales in the Steel Structures segment were $53 million in the quarter, similar to the prior-year period. Steel Structures segment earnings increased 6.8% to $8.9 million, or 16.8% of sales, reflecting improved project mix in 2007 compared to 2006.   ; HVAC segment sales increased 4% to $32.4 million in the first quarter 2007. Segment earnings were $4.7 million, up 13% from the prior-year period. As a percent of sales, segment earnings improved to 14.6% in the first quarter 2007.   ; Thomas & Betts Corporation is a manufacturer of electrical components used in industrial, commercial, communications and utility markets. The company is also a producer of commercial heating and ventilation units and utility transmission structures.