For our fiscal 2021 third quarter, which concluded on February 28, 2021, we generated record sales, earnings and cash flow. This outstanding performance was achieved largely due to your efforts to grow the top line—despite continued difficult economic conditions worldwide and disruptions caused by the severe winter storm that hit the U.S. in February—and to continue implementing our MAP to Growth program’s operational improvements.
Consolidated sales for the third quarter were a record $1.27 billion, an 8.1% increase over the prior-year period. This included organic sales growth of 4.9% and a 2.1% rise in sales resulting from acquisitions, while favorable foreign exchange drove 1.1% of the increase.
Net income was $38.2 million, up an impressive 222.6% over the year-ago period, and consolidated earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) increased 48.2% to $65.4 million. On an adjusted basis, our consolidated EBIT grew by 32.2% to $79.9 million during the quarter, driven largely by three of our four segments generating solid sales growth and significant EBIT growth as a result of MAP to Growth benefits being leveraged to the bottom line. This was particularly impressive given the supply chain challenges we faced and a difficult comparison to last year’s third quarter, when adjusted EBIT increased by 30.4%.
On a segment basis, our Specialty Products Group led the way with organic sales growth of 13.4%. Our Consumer Group also generated high organic growth as it continued to benefit from strong DIY demand. The Construction Products Group again generated solid sales and significant EBIT growth in challenging market conditions by focusing on infrastructure and renovation. Results in our Performance Coatings Group decreased due to tough conditions in its primary end markets.
Looking ahead to the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021, we anticipate consolidated sales growth in the double-digit range. We expect sales in all four segments to be up due to an easier revenue comparison to last year’s fourth quarter, which was heavily impacted by the onset of the pandemic. Our earnings comparison versus last year, on the other hand, will be more challenging due to raw material inflation, as well as an extraordinary situation last year when our non-operating segment reported a profit as a result of lower travel and medical expenses, incentive reversals and other factors. As a result, our fourth-quarter adjusted EBIT is expected to increase double digits, but below the rate of sales growth.
For more information about our results, I encourage you to read our earnings release or listen to a replay of last week’s third-quarter earnings webcast, both of which can be accessed at www.rpminc.com.
As always, I thank you for your continued hard work and dedication. Through the many challenges we have experienced over the past year, you have demonstrated incredible resilience. Our founding philosophy about people is to hire the best we can find, create an atmosphere to keep them, and let them do their jobs. It is clearly evident in our collective performance that this philosophy is alive and well today. I wish you and your families good health.
Very truly yours,
Frank C. Sullivan
Chairman & Chief Executive Officer