WW Grainger 4Q net income rises 5 pct.

WW Grainger posts 5 pct. increase in 4th-qtr net income helped by higher Canadian sales

Associated Press

CHICAGO (AP) -- W.W. Grainger Inc., which sells power tools and other industrial equipment, said Thursday that its fourth-quarter net income rose 5 percent, helped by a double-digit increase in Canadian sales.

The Chicago-based company earned $156.3 million, or $2.17 per share, up from $148.5 million, or $2.04 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

The recent quarter's results included charges related to restructuring, impairment and U.S. branch closings totaling 25 cents per share. Excluding those items, Grainger earned $2.42 per share.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $2.23 billion, boosted by price increases, higher volumes and demand related to Superstorm Sandy.

The results fell short of Wall Street forecasts. Analysts, on average, expected $2.61 per share on $2.24 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Grainger said its U.S. sales rose 5 percent, boosted by higher demand from manufacturing, commercial and government markets. Meanwhile, sales at the company's Canadian Acklands-Grainger business increased 14 percent on stronger sales to customers in the commercial, construction, oil and gas, and utilities markets.

In addition, sales at the company's operations in Asia, Europe and Latin America, increased 16 percent on strong revenue growth in Japan and contributions from recently acquired business in Brazil.

For the full year Grainger made $689.9 million, or $9.52 per share, up from $658.4 million, or $9.07 per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $8.95 billion from $8.08 billion.

The company also backed its previous 2013 earnings guidance of $10.85 to $12 per share and raised its sales growth guidance to a range of 3 to 9 percent to reflect its Dec. 31 acquisition of Techni-Tool Inc.

Grainger previously predicted a sales increase of between 2 and 8 percent. Based on 2012 sales the new guidance implies 2013 sales of $9.22 billion to $9.76 billion.

Analysts expect a 2013 profit of $11.76 per share on $9.51 billion in revenue.

Grainger shares rose $2.56 to $212.35 in morning trading.

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