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IDEX Corp. (IEX - Analyst Report) reported diluted earnings per share of 66 cents in the first quarter of 2012 compared with 57 cents in the first quarter of 2011 and 65 cents in the earlier quarter. 

Earnings not only beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 64 cents per share but also managed to surpass the company’s previously provided guidance range of 62 cents per share to 64 cents per share for the quarter.

Revenues

Net revenues came to $489.4 million, up 14.6% year over year and 1.8% sequentially. This surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $481 million comprehensively. Orders were up 20% annually to reach $531 million in the first quarter of 2012. Management was quite appeased by the improved orders and ameliorated revenues across all three segments.

The Fluid and Metering Technologies (FMT) segment reported sales of $212.7 million, up 6.4% year over year but down 0.6% sequentially. The Health and Science Technologies (HST) segment revenues came in at $173.8 million, rising 34.5% annually and 3.5% sequentially. The Fire and Safety segment recorded sales of $104.1 million, up 5.3% annually and 37% sequentially.

Margins

Operating margin (excludingre-structuring charges) in the quarter came to 18.3% versus 18.2% in the previous year quarter and 17.8% in the last quarter. This was achieved on the backs of increased sales and efficiency in productivity.

The FMT segment reported improved sales coupled with production efficiencies during the quarter resulting in an operating margin of 22.2%, rising from 21% in the last year quarter and 19.7% sequentially.

The HST segment operating margin came in at 18.3%, falling from 22.8% in the previous year quarter and 19.5% in the fourth quarter of 2011, mainly due to the adverse dilutive effects of acquisitions.

The Fire and Safety products segment recorded an operating margin of 23.3% versus 21.4% in the year-ago quarter and 28.1% in the last quarter. The annual rise was attributable primarily to the vast re-structuring activities implemented during the quarter to increase operational efficiency.

Balance Sheet and Cash Flow

As of March 31, 2012, the company had cash and cash equivalents of $245.5 million, increasing from $230.3 million at the end of the previous quarter. Also, net receivables came in $270.8 million, rising from $252.9 million at the end of the previous quarter. Long-term debt reduced to $769.9 million from $806.4 million at the end of the previous quarter.

Cash provided by operating activities amounted to $58.7 million at the end of the first quarter of 2012 compared to $29.1 million in the previous year quarter. Capital expenditures incurred were $8.5 million versus $11.4 million at the end the first quarter of 2011.

Share Repurchase

During the first quarter of 2012, IDEX repurchased 239,000 shares of its own stock for $10.2 million.

Outlook

IDEX looks quite favorably ahead for its upcoming quarter performance with EPS projections of 70 cents per share – 72 cents per share for the second quarter of 2012.

Management increased EPS expectations from a previous range of $2.74 - $2.82 to a range of $2.80 and $2.85 for full year 2012. Also, organic revenue is projected to be in roughly mid-single digits.

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