Milwaukee-based Actuant Corp. today (March 21) announced an increase in sales and earnings for its fiscal second quarter, ended Feb. 29.

The manufacturer of motion control systems and hydraulic and electrical tools and supplies reported sales for the second quarter were $378 million, 14% higher than the comparable prior year quarter. Core sales increased 8% with acquisitions contributing 7% partially offset by a negative 1% impact of the stronger U.S. dollar. Fiscal 2012 second quarter net earnings from continuing operations were $32.2 million compared to $22.1 million in the comparable prior year quarter. EPS of 43 cents in the second quarter of fiscal 2012 was 43% higher than the $0.30 in the comparable prior year quarter.

Actuant’s RV interests include leveling system maker Power Gear and component and step supplier Kwikee Products Inc., part of the company’s engineered solutions segment that increased sales 12% from the prior year to $124 million.

Sales for the six months were $771 million, 19% higher than the $649 million in the comparable prior year period. Excluding the 11% impact of acquisitions (insignificant foreign currency impact), year-to-date core sales increased 8%. Earnings and EPS from continuing operations for the six months ended February 29, 2012 were $69.3 million, or $0.94 per diluted share, compared to $48.8 million, or $0.66 per diluted share for the comparable prior year period.

Robert C. Arzbaecher, chairman and CEO of Actuant, noted, “We are very pleased with the results for the second quarter as sales, EPS and cash flow were all above expectations. During the normally seasonally weak second quarter, broad-based strength continued across many of our served end markets, resulting in an 8% increase in year-over-year core sales. We achieved record second quarter EPS of $0.43 through the combination of higher sales and robust year-over-year margin improvement. Our strategic initiatives and proven business model now have delivered nine consecutive quarters of year-over-year sales, margin and EPS growth and we are on track to deliver the highest free cash flow year in Actuant’s history. I want to thank our global team for their continued solid execution.”