* Q1 EPS $0.34 vs est $0.25
* Q1 sales $164.7 mln vs est $146.1 mln
(Recasts, adds analyst comments, updates shr movement)
By Biswarup Gooptu
BANGALORE, April 21 Graco Inc (GGG.N), a maker
of fluid handling systems and components, posted a quarterly
profit that beat Wall Street expectations, driven largely by
increased sales across its segments.
The company's industrial segment saw a 29 percent increase
in quarterly sales to $97 million, as it continued to benefit
from the gradual stabilization of the global industrial
"Last year, this quarter was amongst worst performances ...
(this time the) improvement was across the board," Morningstar
analyst Anil Daka said by phone.
The company, which has a significant exposure to the
construction and automotive markets, also saw an upswing in its
contractor and lubrication businesses, which rose 7 percent and
13 percent year-over-year.
While non-residential construction is still struggling
under tepid demand and frozen markets, housing starts have seen
an uptick, to touch their highest levels since November 2008.
"Graco is on the top of its end-markets. When you talk to a
Graco product user, the company beats its competition by a
mile," Daka said.
For the first-quarter ended March 26, the company reported
net income of $20.6 million, or 34 cents a share, compared with
$2.8 million, or 5 cents a share, a year ago.
Sales rose almost 20 percent to $164.7 million, with
revenue from its Asia Pacific and European regions up 65
percent and 17 percent, respectively.
"Things are definitely going in the right direction. I
think Graco is in for a very good ride as far as the
fundamentals are concerned," Daka said.
Analysts on average were expecting Graco to earn 25 cents a
share, on revenue of $146.1 million, according to Thomson
Shares of the Minneapolis, Minnesota-based company closed
at $32.23 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange.
(Reporting by Biswarup Gooptu in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul