Diluted earnings per share were 58 cents, an increase of 9.4% over the 53 cents reported in last year's first quarter. Consolidated revenue increased 4.6% to $365.7 million in the first quarter ,compared to $349.7 million reported in the comparable period for 2011. Operating income for the three months ended March 31, 2012, was $46.5 million, an increase of 6.6% over the $43.6 million reported in the first three months of last year.
Cash provided by operating activities was $9.0 million in the first quarter of 2012, compared to $28.4 million in the first quarter of 2011. Cash flow was impacted by increases in working capital related to growth in revenue and inventory restocking.
"The company continues to perform very well," said Kenneth P. Manning, chairman, president and CEO of Sensient Technologies. "We achieved solid revenue and operating profit growth during the first quarter and we expect to sustain this level of growth, in local currency terms, for the rest of the year. We continue to see opportunities for growth, and I remain very optimistic about the company's future."
The Color Group reported revenue of $131.3 million in the first quarter of 2012, a record level for the first quarter and an increase of 4.5% over the $125.7 million reported in the comparable period last year. Operating income increased 14.2% to $25.5 million, an all-time quarterly high, from $22.3 million reported in the first quarter of 2011. The operating income growth for the Group was driven by strong growth in the North American food color business and the inks businesses in both North America and Europe. Color Group operating margins improved 160 basis points in the quarter to 19.4%.
The Flavors & Fragrances Group reported revenue of $214.7 million, a new high for the first quarter and an increase of 4.3% compared to $206.0 million reported in the first quarter of 2011. Operating income increased to $29.1 million in the quarter from $28.6 million in the prior year.
The Corporate & Other segment, which includes the company's operations in Asia Pacific and China, and the flavor businesses in Central and South America, reported revenue of $37.2 million, an increase of 7.5% compared to the $34.6 million reported in the first quarter of 2011.