Operator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the First Quarter 2011 Sigma-Aldrich Corporation Earnings Conference Call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will be given at that time. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.
I would now like to turn the call over to your host, Kirk Richter, Vice President, Treasurer and Interim CFO. You may begin.
Kirk Richter - VP, Treasurer and Interim CFO: Thank you and let me add my good morning, and welcome to our first quarter 2011 earnings conference call. With me today is Rakesh Sachdev, our President and CEO.
In today's call, I will review our first quarter performance, Rakesh will follow that with an update on the activities that contributed to our first quarter results, our outlook for all of 2011 and the activities that are expected to drive our performance. After completing those reviews, we’ll open up the call for your questions and comments.
We will be using a slide presentation as part of today’s call. That presentation can be viewed by accessing our Investor Relations website on sigmaaldrich.com.
Before we begin the review, I do need to remind you that today's comments will include forward-looking statements about future activities and our expectations for sales, earnings, cash flow, and other possible future results. While we believe these expectations are based on reasonable assumptions actual results may differ materially due to any number of factors including the risk factors listed in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2010, and in the cautionary statement that is included in today’s release and in our slides. We have no plans to update these forward-looking statements after this conference.
Also, we do provide information on any non-GAAP financial measures covered in today’s conference. That information which consists of currency and acquisition adjusted sales growth, operating income, net income, and EPS results on both on adjusted and reported basis, and free cash flow reconciled to net cash provided by operating activities is also contained in today’s earnings release, which is posted on our website and in the appendix to today’s presentation that begins with Slide 12.
I am pleased to report that our sales net income and diluted earnings per share for the first quarter of 2011 all set new quarterly records. Our Q1 sales were $632 million, a reported increase of 10% over last year’s first quarter. Our organic sales growth, which excludes the impact of currency and acquisitions was 7% with contributions from both our SAFC and research businesses. Acquisitions added 1% and changes in foreign currency exchange rates added 2% to the increase in reported sales over the prior year.
Our first quarter net income of $119 million increased 19%. Reported diluted EPS was $0.97, a gain of 20% over the prior year. On a comparable basis, excluding restructuring charges and a tax benefit, net income and diluted EPS would have both increased by 12% over the prior year. In the first quarter of 2011 we recognized the tax benefit of $5 million or $0.04 per share due to the release of some tax reserves.