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MSC sales rise in quarter and for the year

Erik Gershwind, president and chief executive of Melville-based

Erik Gershwind, president and chief executive of Melville-based MSC Industrial Direct Co. on March 27, 2013. MSC said Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014, that both its fourth-quarter and annual revenue rose in its fiscal year 2014. Photo Credit: Johnny Milano

Melville-based MSC Industrial Direct Co. said Tuesday that both its fourth-quarter and annual revenue rose in its fiscal year 2014, as investments in its infrastructure paid off in market-share gains.

MSC, one of the world's largest distributors of industrial tools and supplies, said its fiscal fourth-quarter sales rose 7.8 percent to $726.6 million, beating analysts' expectations of $724.8 million. Net income in the quarter ended Aug. 30 rose 11.4 percent to $62.8 million. Earnings per share rose to $1.01 from 89 cents.

"Our growth and infrastructure investments progressed as planned and began contributing to our improved growth as the year progressed," said MSC president and chief executive Erik Gershwind.

Annual sales rose 13.4 percent to $2.8 billion, from $2.5 billion a year earlier. Net income for the year dipped to $236.1 million, from $238 million the year before.

MSC said it outperformed industry growth rates despite a slow recovery in the manufacturing sector, which Gershwind referred to as "the headwinds of the abnormally soft pricing environment."

Reflecting its confidence going forward, the company recently announced that it was increasing its cash dividend to 40 cents a share, from 33 cents. And it also declared a special $3-a-share cash dividend.

"Our confidence in continued cash generation is reflected in our increased ordinary dividend and the announced special dividend," said Jeff Kaczka, MSC's chief financial officer.

MSC shares closed Tuesday at $84.27, down 59 cents, in New York Stock Exchange trading.

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