Crane Co, a conglomerate supplying payment-processing technology and other services to consumer industries including the casino sector, confirmed in a Monday press release that, notwithstanding the Covid-19 pandemic, it would maintain its regular quarterly dividend for the first quarter of this year.
It will amount to US$0.43 per share, and is payable on March 10 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 26.
Also on Monday, the group announced its fourth-quarter and full-year results in a filing in the United States.
For the quarter ending December 31, Crane Co swung to a US$46.8-million profit, compared to a loss of US$112.6 million in the same quarter a year earlier. The 2019 quarter had included a US$181-million provision for asbestos-related injury claims.
Group net sales for the three months to December 31 were down 13.3 percent, at US$726.4 million, from US$837.5 million.
In the payment and merchandising technologies segment, including casino-related products, fourth-quarter net sales fell by 10.2 percent year-on-year, to US$282.6 million. Operating profit in the segment declined 39.6 percent from a year earlier, to US$31.7 million.
For full-year 2020, group-wide profit was up 35.8 percent year-on-year, at US$181.0 million, from US$133.3 million.
Yearly net sales group wide were down 10.5 percent year-on-year, at just under US$2.94 billion, versus US$3.28 billion in 2019.
“The core sales decline was attributable to Covid-19 related macroeconomic factors,” said the group.
Payment and merchandising technologies saw 2020 operating profit down 43.3 percent year-on-year, at US$100.6 million; while net sales fell 4.6 percent, to about US$1.10 billion.
The group also gave guidance that it anticipated circa 30-percent growth in adjusted earnings for 2021, with earnings per share expected in the range of US$4.90 to US$5.10.
“Orders were higher in December than in any other month of 2020, with broad-based core year-over-year growth of 11 percent, led by Crane Currency, our defence electronics business, and engineered materials,” said Max Mitchell, group president and chief executive, in prepared remarks contained in the earnings statement.
The CEO added in relation to the latest full-year numbers: “While we adjusted our cost base in 2020, delivering approximately US$105 million of gross cost savings, we did not reduce investments in any key growth area of the business and we continued to make significant progress on our technology roadmaps, positioning us for long-term success.”