CEO Patrick McHale said that he was happy with performance. ‘We have seen improving demand in both our industrial and process groups,' he said. 'Our manufacturing and purchasing teams performed well to meet the increased in demand in spite of external supply chain challenges.'
In the company's industrial business, which includes spray foam equipment, sales rose by 16.4% between the first quarter of 2020 and the first quarter of 2021, at $185m. This compares with $159m in the equivalent period in 2020.
Operating earnings in the division rose 29.9% to $65.2m in the first quarter of 2021. This compares with $50.2m in the equivalent period in 2020. There was increased activity in worldwide manufacturing in the first quarter, and this contributed to growth in this business.
The profit line was also improved because of more advantageous currency translation rates, while higher factory volumes reduced the unit cost of products. The company's tighter grip on costs helped to boost the operating margin by 3% in the quarter compared with the same period last year.
Looking ahead to the rest of the year, McHale is optimistic. 'Improvement in our end markets and our incoming order rates bode well for continued success in the second quarter,' he said. 'However, we are cautious on the longer-term outlook, as uncertainty remains in the overall demand environment. We will continue to execute on our core growth strategies.