Black and Decker said the net earnings reflected $58.8 million of pretax expenses in 2009 related to the proposed merger with The Stanley Works. Shareholders of both Black and Decker and The Stanley Works will attend shareholder meetings on March 12 to vote on the proposed merger. The merged companies will form the biggest tool company in the US.

Despite very healthy cash generation of $584 million in 2009, the company said its sales for the period to the end of December fell 6% to $1.3 billion from $1.38 billion in 2008. Full year profit declined 55% to $132 million from $293 million year-on-year.

Black and Decker’s debt was nearly halved during the year to a net figure of $632 million and the company benefitted from cash and short-term securities totalling more than $1 billion at the end of December.
CEO Nolan D Archibald commented:  “Sales in the fourth quarter exceeded our expectations in all business segments. While 2009 overall was a challenging year, we delivered profits well above our initial forecast and very strong cash generation.”