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Crane Posts Q4 Profit, Lifts FY Earnings Outlook

Diversified manufacturer Crane Co. (CR) Monday reported a profit for the fourth quarter, turning around from a loss last year, as last year's results were weighed down by hefty provisions. Revenues for the quarter also increased, helped mainly by growth at its aerospace & electronics and merchandising segments.

Stamford, Connecticut-based Crane Monday reported a fourth-quarter profit of $45.6 million or $0.79 per share, compared to a loss of $125.1 million or $2.16 per share last year.

The recent fourth quarter results included charges of $4 million related to repositioning actions and costs of $4 million related to acquisition of MEI Conlux Holdings. Last year results included asbestos provision of $157 million and environmental provision of $20 million.

Excluding items, earnings rose to $53.4 million or $0.92 per share from $51.7 million or $0.88 per share last year quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.96 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Crane said sales for the quarter grew to $629.8 million from $619.8 million last year. Analysts estimated revenues of $653.8 million for the quarter.

Segment wise, aerospace & electronics sales rose 2 percent, engineered materials increased 4 percent and merchandising systems grew 9 percent. Fluid handling sales dropped 1 percent, while controls slipped 6 percent.

Operating margin advanced to 13.4 percent from 12.6 percent last year.

Looking forward, the company lifted its earnings guidance for the full year, reflecting lower pension expenses. The company now expects earnings of $4.10 to $4.30 per share, up from prior estimate of $4.05 to $4.20 per share.

Crane now expects full-year 2013 core sales growth of between 1 to 3 percent, excluding acquisition and foreign exchange impacts. Sales growth was previously expected at about 2 to 4 percent for 2013.

Crane declared a dividend of $0.28 per share for the first quarter, payable on March 8 to shareholders as of February 28.

Separately, Crane has appointed Max Mitchell President and Chief Operating Officer, with immediate effect. Mitchell, 49, has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer since May 2011.

CR closed Monday's trading at $48.59, down 0.43% on the NYSE. In after-hours, the stock gained $0.86 or 1.77%.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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