Brady Corp. (NYSE:BRC) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Nov 16, 2017 • 10:30 am ET
Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the First Quarter 2018 Brady Corporation Earnings Conference Call.
As a reminder, today's program is being recorded.
And now, I'd like to introduce your host for today's program Ann Thornton, CAO. Please go ahead.
Good morning and welcome to the Brady Corporation fiscal 2018 first quarter earnings conference call. The slides for this morning's call are located on our website at www.bradycorp.com. We will begin our prepared remarks on slide 3.
(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)
Also, please note that this teleconference is copyrighted by Brady Corporation and may not be rebroadcast without the consent of Brady. We will be recording this call and broadcasting it on the Internet. As such, your participation in the Q&A session will constitute your consent to being recorded.
I'll now turn the call over to Brady's President and CEO, Michael Nauman.
Thank you, Ann. Good morning, and thank you all for joining us. We released our fiscal 2018 first quarter financial results this morning and I'm pleased to report our ninth consecutive quarter of improved year-on-year profitability, total sales growth of 3.6% and organic sales growth of 1.7%. We increased net earnings by 14.6% compared to the first quarter of last year and diluted earnings per share increased 11.4% to $0.49.
These improvements are direct result of our focus on serving our customers extremely well, developing high quality innovative products, driving efficiency throughout our global operations, streaming our SG&A structure and strengthening our culture of innovation and local ownership.
We make sure that every decision we make appropriately balances the long-term and the short-term that our efficiency actions are sustainable and that we're investing in our future. This focus is demonstrated by our increased investments in research and development.
R&D expenses were up 15% this quarter and we are excited about the new products and update we've had in the pipeline for this fiscal year and beyond. Our ID Solutions business continues to perform well, posting a total sales increase of 4.2%, which consisted of organic sales growth of 2.9% and 1.3% benefit from currency. ID Solutions was led by our EMEA and Asian regions. Overall, IDS is posting solid organic sales growth, increasing its investments in innovation, and improving its customers buying experience, which is all leading to increased profitability.
In our Workplace Safety business, we realized the total sales increase of 1.9%, which included a 3.3% benefit from currency and a 1.4% organic sales decline. We are seeing positive developments in our North American business and we are confident we are taking the right steps to return this business to growth.
Our European WPS business continues to deliver organic sales growth as this marks our 15th consecutive quarter of organic growth on a per day basis. This leadership team continues to execute our strategy of providing industry-leading expertise to our customers, while managing the shift from catalog to digital. Pricing pressures remain challenging in this business, but we are managing this by increasing the value