Earnings down at Brady Corp.

Milwaukee-based Brady Corp. reported fiscal first quarter net earnings of $23.9 million, or 46 cents per share, down from $27.2 million, or 53 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The company’s quarterly sales from continuing operations were up 13.0 percent to $306.0 million compared with $270.9 million a year earlier.

“We completed the reorganization of our company to focus on two business platforms, Identification Solutions and Workplace Safety that will provide long-term growth for Brady. Although total sales increased 13.0 percent in our first quarter, our Workplace Safety business experienced an organic sales decline of 10.0 percent. In the fourth quarter of last year, we accelerated our investment in our Workplace Safety business to drive organic sales growth and we will be investing another $14 million in fiscal 2014 as we improve our e-commerce capabilities, expand our product offerings and enhance our pricing capabilities. We are starting to see positive signs from this accelerated investment and expect to return to organic sales growth in the second half of the year,” said Brady’s Chief financial officer and interim president and chief executive officer, Thomas Felmer. “Our Identification Solutions business remains strong as we see improvements in our Asian and European results and continue to see growth opportunities driven by our new product pipeline and increased focus on industries such as healthcare; food and beverage; chemical, oil and gas; and aerospace and mass transit.”

The Company anticipates organic sales from continuing operations in fiscal 2014 to range from a slight contraction to low single-digit growth, with organic sales down in the first half of the year and returning to growth in the second half of fiscal 2014.

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