Memphis, TN-based Thomas & Betts Corp. reported first quarter sales of $459.8 million, down 22.8% from first quarter 2008. Profit fell 31.9% to $26.1 million.
Weaker demand for electrical products used in construction, industrial maintenance and electrical power distribution were the primary drivers for lower sales.
As expected, the economy has proved to be our biggest challenge in 2009 and we have responded by adjusting production, reducing headcount, tightly managing costs and remaining intensely focused on effectively managing working capital, CEO Dominic J. Pileggi said.
First quarter 2009 total segment earnings declined 30.6% to $77.6 million as a result of lower sales volumes and unfavorable foreign currency. As a percent of sales, segment earnings were 16.9% compared to 18.8% in 2008.
Electrical segment sales were $368.8 million, down 27.5% year-over-year. Decreased volumes were occurred across virtually all product and geographic markets. Foreign currency contributed approximately $34 million to the sales decline. Electrical segment earnings declined 40.2% to $57.4 million, reflecting the negative impact of lower sales volumes and a stronger U.S. dollar.
First quarter Steel Structures segment sales were $61.9 million, up 19.2% compared to the prior-year period. Higher year-over-year steel pricing contributed to the sales improvement. Segment earnings were $14.4 million, up 44% from first quarter 2008.
HVAC segment sales were $29.1 million, down 16.4% year-over-year. HVAC earnings improved slightly to $5.7 million, 1.9% higher than the prior year period.