Sales of $1,454 million, an 8 percent increase over the same period in 2001, reflect solid improvement in key market segments for the company, particularly Electronics, Coatings and the consumer-related markets of Performance Chemicals.
Earnings from continuing operations, excluding unusual items, of $90 million, or $.41 per share, increased 25 percent over pro-forma earnings of $72 million, or $.33 per share, for the comparable period in 2001. The current consensus estimate, as reported by First Call, is $.41 per share. Unusual charges totaling $17 million, or $.08 per share for the quarter, include charges related to cost reduction initiatives announced in 2001, remediation related costs, insurance settlements, adjustments to working capital from the sale of the Agricultural Chemicals business in 2001, and purchased in-process research and development associated with a recent acquisition in the companys Powder Coatings business.
Our sales growth continues to show solid year-over-year improvement, reflecting the strength of our portfolio to generate higher sales, despite these uncertain economic times, notes Raj Gupta, chairman and chief executive officer. Leverage of this sales growth, combined with the implementation of our cost reduction initiatives, which are essentially complete, is demonstrated in solid earnings improvement.