Franklin Electric posts record profit

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A surge in orders for the fuel systems it manufactures resulted in Franklin Electric Co. Inc. reporting a 48-percent increase in third-quarter profit late yesterday.

The record $17.3 million in net income was driven by sales rising by nearly a third from the same period last year, the Bluffton company said.

Franklin Electric’s 74 cents a share in profit was well above the 67 cents anticipated by analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Sales of $215 million also easily surpassed the $199 million expected by analysts.

Franklin Electric is benefiting from its 2006 acquisition of Healy Systems Inc., which makes vacuum equipment that virtually eliminates gasoline vapors during refills at gasoline stations. California has mandated that all gas stations install such control systems by April 2009.

CEO R. Scott Trumbull said Franklin is snaring a high percentage of the market, and that only about 40 percent of the conversions in California have been completed.

Franklin Electric shares rose $1.15 this morning, to $34.94. The stock peaked at $58.33 in April 2006.

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