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Grainger Profit Rises, Yet Misses Estimate - Update

Maintenance supplies distributor W.W. Grainger Inc. (GWW), Thursday reported a five percent increase in fourth-quarter profit, helped by a seven percent growth in revenues, partly offset by restructuring charges. Nonetheless, the company's earnings and revenues for the quarter fell short of Street estimates.

Moving forward, Grainger reaffirmed its earnings outlook for the full year 2013, and raised its sales expectations to reflect the December acquisition of Techni-Tool Inc.

CEO Jim Ryan said, "As we look forward to 2013, we remain confident in our strategy and our ability to provide the best service and gain share in the MRO industry..."

Lake Forest, Illinois-based Grainger reported fourth-quarter net income to common shares of $153.6 million or $2.17 per share, compared with $148.5 million or $2.04 per share last year.

Results for the quarter included, among other items, restructuring charges of $0.18 per share.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the quarter were $174 million or $2.42 per share, compared with $155 million or $2.13 per share in the prior year.

Analysts on consensus estimated earnings of $2.61 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the quarter rose to $2.23 billion from $2.1 billion in the prior year quarter. Analysts on consensus estimated revenues of $2.24 billion for the quarter.

Sales in the U.S. segment increased 5 percent, and in Canada, sales at Acklands-Grainger increased 14 percent. Sales for the other businesses, including Asia, Europe and Latin America, grew 16 percent.

For fiscal year 2013, Grainger continues to expect earnings of $10.85 to $12.00 per share. The company raised its sales guidance to a new range of 3 to 9 percent growth, from the prior range of 2 to 8 percent. Analysts currently expect earnings of $11.74 per share on revenues of $9.53 billion for the year.

Grainger is trading at $214.09, up 2.05%, on the NYSE.

by RTT Staff Writer

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