Industrial and construction supplies provider Fastenal Co. (FAST: Quote) on Wednesday reported a 34.2 percent rise in fourth-quarter profit reflecting strong sales growth. Earnings per share came inline with the Street estimates, while top line beat view. Looking ahead, the company said it expects to open approximately 4 percent to 6 percent new stores in 2012.
Fourth-quarter net earnings rose 34.2 percent to $87.47 million from last year's $65.16 million. Earnings per share grew 36.4 percent to $0.30 from $0.22 a year ago.
On average, 10 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.30 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.
The company stated that the per share figures were adjusted to give effect to the two-for-one split of common stock in May 2011.
Quarterly net sales climbed 21.6 percent to $697.80 million from $573.77 million a year ago, while analysts estimated sales of $694.29 million for the quarter.
Gross profit for the quarter grew to $357.18 million from last year's $298.62 million.
For fiscal 2011, net earnings increased 34.9 percent to $357.93 million from prior year's $265.36 million. Earnings per share were $1.21, 34.4 percent higher than prior year's $0.90. Annual net sales grew 21.9 percent to $2.77 billion from $2.27 billion last year.
In the month of December, the company had daily sales growth rates of 21.2 percent, compared to 20.9 percent last year.
As of December 31, 2011, the company had 2,585 stores. During the year, the company opened 122 new stores, an increase of 4.9 percent since last year.
On Tuesday, Fastenal said its Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.17 per share to be paid in cash on February 29 to shareholders of record at the close of business on February 1.
FAST shares are currently trading at $45.20 in pre-market activity, down $1.59 or 3.40 percent.
by RTT Staff Writer
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