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Nordson Corporation has reported results for the fiscal first quarter ended January 31, 2021. Sales were $527 million, a 6% increase compared to the prior year’s first quarter sales of $495 million. Strength in consumer non-durable and industrial end markets were the primary drivers of the growth. The change in first quarter 2021 sales included an organic volume increase of 3%, a favorable effect from currency translation of 3%, and benefits from acquisitions.
Operating profit in the quarter was $109 million or 21% of sales, compared to prior year adjusted operating profit of $78 million. This 39% increase in profit was driven by leveraging sales volume growth, benefits from structural cost reduction actions taken in fiscal year 2020, and an improved sales mix. EBITDA for the first quarter of 2021 totaled $135 million, or 26% of sales.
Net income was $78 million, a 49% increase from the prior year earnings of $52 million. First quarter 2021 diluted earnings per share were $1.32, a 48% increase over the prior year earnings of $0.89 per diluted share.
“I am very pleased with the solid start to the year, particularly in our return to year-over-year organic sales growth and the significant profit margin expansion as strategic actions taken in fiscal year 2020 began delivering results. While this remains a dynamic macro-environment, we are encouraged by the order entry momentum we started to see within the quarter, particularly in product lines serving the medical and electronics end markets,” said Nordson President and Chief Executive Officer Sundaram Nagarajan. “I am very thankful for the energy and commitment of our employees, who continue to manage through the uncertainty of COVID-19 while also deploying our new NBS Next growth framework and making a strong Nordson even stronger.”
First Quarter Segment Results
Industrial Precision Solutions sales of $288 million increased approximately 9% compared to the prior year first quarter, driven by a 6% organic increase and a favorable currency impact of 3%. The organic sales increase was driven by solid demand in consumer non-durable and industrial end markets. Operating profit was $83 million, or 29% of sales compared to 21% in the prior year first quarter.
Advanced Technology Solutions sales of $238 million increased approximately 3% compared to the prior year first quarter. Acquisitions increased sales by approximately 2% and favorable currency impacts also added 2%, which was offset by an organic volume decrease of 1%. Sales growth in test and inspection and fluid dispense product lines was offset by weaker shipments in electronic dispense and medical interventional solutions product lines during the quarter. Operating profit totaled $47 million, or 20% of sales, compared to adjusted operating profit of 15% of sales in the prior year first quarter.
On February 1, the divestiture of the screws and barrels product line was completed. This was an important strategic portfolio realignment that will lead to improved profitability.
Order entry trends consistently improved throughout the first quarter of fiscal year 2021 across the majority of our product lines, and backlog entering the second quarter of fiscal year 2021 was approximately $495 million, an increase of 7% compared to the same period a year ago. Based on this backlog and order entry trend, and the correlation to sales timing, we expect the fiscal 2021 full year sales growth to be approximately 4% to 6% over fiscal year 2020, inclusive of a 3% headwind from the divestiture. Additionally, we are forecasting full year 2021 earnings per diluted share in the range of $6.30 to $6.70, representing 15% to 22% growth over the prior year adjusted earnings.