Emco Ltd. (London, Ontario) reported net earnings of $22.1 million for the year ended Dec. 31, a substantial increase compared with $6.5 million in 2001. Sales of $914 million for the year were up 7% from a year ago.

The distribution segment's operating earnings nearly doubled compared with last year, attributed to increases in wholesale sales, management initiatives to improve product margins and continued management of expenses.

For the fourth quarter, Emco's net earnings were $2.9 million compared with $605,635 for the same time last year. Sales increased 11% mainly due to higher volumes of plumbing, heating and waterworks products, the company said.

In February Emco entered into a Support Agreement with Blackfriars Corp. and 2022841 Ontario Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Blackfriars, pursuant to which 2022841 Ontario Inc. will make an offer to purchase all of the issued and outstanding common shares of Emco at $11.26 per share in cash. Note: All dollar figures were converted to U.S. dollars.