Milwaukee-based A.O. Smith Corp. today reported first quarter net earnings of $47.5 million, or $1.02 per share, up from $24.2 million, or 52 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.
The company’s quarterly net sales grew to $468.6 million, up 12.26 percent from $417.4 million a year earlier. The most recent quarter included an 18 percent increase in sales of A.O. Smith branded product in China and contributions from Lochinvar, which was acquired in August 2011.
“Although the U. S. economy is showing some positive signs of recovery including some positive data in the new construction sector, we still have a long way to go to fully recover from the recession,” said Paul W. Jones, chairman and chief executive officer. “As we’ve stated before, we expect little to no benefit from new construction this year as our water heater business tends to lag behind new construction by six to nine months. However, our North American replacement water heater business remains on solid ground. Sales at Lochinvar continue to grow as expected. We project growth in 2012 to be in excess of 10 percent over their historical performance, and we look forward to a full year’s contributions from this newest member of our team.”
A.O. Smith increased its estimate for 2012 earnings to a range of $2.75 to $2.90 per share based on the first quarter’s performance.