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Franklin Electric CEO touts tenure at final meeting

Trumbull

Scott Trumbull presided over his final Franklin Electric Co. Inc. shareholder meeting Friday as CEO of the Fort Wayne company.

The executive smiled as he stood in front of two large electronic displays that flashed Franklin’s financial data, a testament to his leadership.

About 75 people, including many current and former employees, attended the 40-minute meeting at the manufacturer’s new headquarters near Fort Wayne International Airport.

Gregg Sengstack, president and chief operating officer, succeeds Trumbull as CEO, effective today.

Trumbull will continue as chairman of the board.

Franklin Electric designs and makes submersible motors and pumping systems used to move water and fuel. Customers include homeowners, municipalities and companies in commercial, agricultural and other industries worldwide.

Trumbull reviewed Franklin’s performance under his leadership. During his 11-year tenure, shareholders’ compound annual rate of return was 14 percent. Over the same period, the annualized rate of return for the Standard & Poor’s 500 was 9.15 percent, according to a calculation made using Moneychimp.com.

The company has reported growth for 18 consecutive quarters in adjusted earnings per share and has increased annual dividend payments for 22 consecutive years.

Before the shareholders meeting, the board voted to declare a 9-cent quarterly dividend payable May 30 to shareholders of record on May 15.

Sengstack, who for years has participated in charting the company’s strategy, talked about Franklin’s future.

Officials will continue to look for takeover targets, he said. Franklin has made one or two acquisitions each of the last 10 years in deals averaging $50 million each.

By focusing sales efforts on developing regions, Franklin is poised to sell more water and pumping systems as those areas invest in infrastructure, he said.

The company on Tuesday reported first-quarter earnings of $17.0 million, or 35 cents a diluted common share, a 10 percent increase from the $15.5 million, or 32 cents a share, posted for the same three-month period in 2013.

sslater@jg.net

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