Nicholas T. Pinchuk
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer at Snap-on
Thanks, Sara. Good morning, everybody. As usual, I will start the call by covering the highlights of our third quarter and along the way, I will give you my perspective on our results. They are encouraging. On our market, they are positive and more than resilient, and I will speak about our progress. It's been considerable each period demonstrating increasing strength even when in the midst of solvency and headwind. And we will also speak about what it all means to our future. It's incredibly promising. And then Aldo will move into a more detailed review of the financials. Our reported sales in the quarter were $1.377 billion. They were up 10.2%, including $9.6 million of favorable foreign currency and $19.5 million of acquisition-related sales. Our organic sales growth was up 7% was 7%, gains in every group. It was our fifth straight quarter of above pre-pandemic performance and Snap-on value creation processes, safety, quality, customer connection, innovation and rapid continuous improvement, or RCI, as we call it, all combined to drive that progress. And progress it was. Opco operating income of $201.3 million was up $15.6 million from last year. The OI margin was 19.4%, down 30 basis points, impacted negatively by acquisitions, but still very strong at a strong level.
For financial services, operating income of $70.6 million increased 7.6% and the delinquencies were down even below the 2019 pre-pandemic levels, a continuing testimony to our unique business model and its ability to navigate the most threatening of environments. First quarter EPS was $2.57, up $0.29 or 8.8% from last year. And as I said before, we believe Snap-on is stronger now than when we entered this great withering and our third quarter results testifies to just that. Compared with 2019, before we ever heard of the virus, our sales grew $135.9 million or 15.1%, which includes $21 million from acquisition-related sales, $13.6 million of favorable foreign currency, and a $101.3 million or 11.1% organic gain. And that 2021 OpCo operating margin of 19.4% was up 80 basis points from the pre-pandemic levels, even while absorbing the impact of new acquisitions and while meeting what we can call a considerable disruption of these days.
Now, let's talk about the markets. Water repair remains quite resilient. The technicians are prospering. They know they weather the depths of the COVID shock, learn to accommodate the virus environment and are well along the psychological recovery. Techs are resilient. They have been at their post for the last 18 months undoing it and they won't be shots again and they are optimistic about the future of their profession, about the outlook of individual transportation, and about the greater need for their skills as the vehicle park changes with new technology. Vehicle repair is strong is a strong and resilient market. You can hear it in the franchisees voice and you can see it written clearly across our numbers every quarter. Also on auto repair, there are our shop owners and managers different from the techs. That's where our Repair Systems & Information Group, RS&I, plies its trade.
Demand for new and used cars is high despite limited supply in dealership repair and maintenance and warranty is rebounding and dealers are starting to invest again. And we have been able to make we have been able to take advantage with groundbreaking products like our award winning Tru-Point advanced driver assistance calibration system, our new diagnostic, our new diagnostic, TRITON-D10, Intelligent Diagnostic and our acclaimed Mitchell1 ProDemand repair estimating guide, all representing new technologies and data deployed to make work easier in the shop. Vehicle repair looks more promising than ever and Snap-on is poised to capitalize. Now, let's talk about critical indices which Snap-on rolls out of the garage, solving task of consequence. These are commercial industrial as C&I operates. The virus had a much longer impact on these customers. They were slower to accommodate, but they are recovering. And in the quarter, our results showed that trend, gains in North America, Europe and in Asia, all over the globe. So overall, I describe our C&I markets as improving. And coupled with the strength of the auto repair sectors, our markets are beyond resilient and we are ready and well-positioned to make progress along those run-rates to recover.
At the same time, it's clear that we have ongoing potential on our runways for improvement, the Snap-on value creation processes. They have never been more important, helping to counter the turbulence of the day, especially important with customer connection as understanding the work of professional technicians and innovation, matching that insight with technology, driving new products. And just this quarter, Snap-on was prominently represented with 9 Professional Tool & Equipment News we call it P10 People's Choice Awards where the actual users, the technicians make the selection. We are also recognized with two P10 Innovation awards and we are honored with 2 Motor Magazine Top Tool awards. An essential driver of Snap-on growth is innovative product that makes work easier and the awards are the one are our testimony that great Snap-on products just keep coming, matching the growing complexity of the task, becoming more essential to technicians and driving our forward progress. That's the environment, pretty positive.
Now, we will move to the operating groups. In C&I, volume in the quarter rose 13.9% or $42 million versus 2020 on significant growth across all divisions, reflecting reflected a $32.9 million or 10.6% organic uplift and $7.5 million from our AutoCrib acquisition. And double-digit growth in our European hand tool businesses and a high single-digit rise in critical industries led the way. C&I operating income of $52.6 million, was up $10.5 million or 24.4% and the operating margin was 15.3%. That's an increase of 130 basis points versus last year. I'd say that's an attention getting rise against the wind. Now, compared to the pre-pandemic 2019 results, sales were up 4.8%, including a 0.9% organic gain and that OI margin of 15.3% was up 90 basis points against the 70 point impact of acquisitions and unfavorable currency. Once again, SNA Europe delivered double-digit growth beyond double-digit growth beyond pre-virus levels against a complex and varied marketing environment propelled by the customization power of their Bahco ERGO Tool Management System. And our industrial division roles in critical industries, recording nice gains in general industry, heavy duty, education and U.S. aviation, a number of positive sectors overcoming weakness and continuing weakness in the military and natural resources. P&I is rising and we are enthusiastic about the possibilities. We will keep strengthening our position to capture those opportunities and enabling that intent is our expanding lineup of innovative new products.
And the third quarter did see some great new offerings like our 14.4-volt 3h-inch drive brushless reaction, the CDR861. It's already popular. And it's no wonder. It's a powerful combination of strength and speed, high torque, 60-foot bumps, the bus loose, very suborn bolts and rapid operations, 275 RPM for getting those fasteners off in quick time. It's made in our Murphy, North Carolina plant and it features a full frame brushless motor for longer runtime and durability. It includes a safety switch that shuts in an equipment safety switch that shuts down shuts down the tool after 2 minutes of continuous use that's eliminating the chance of overheating. It also has a super bright 18 aluminum front-facing light that stays illuminated after the trigger is released, allowing easy and immediate inspection of the work. This ratchet also features a built-in break that stops the tool from throwing or fasteners, which it seems like not much, but it's an important safety feature for technicians. And it also offers a great cushion grip that makes for more comfortable tool control even during extended use. The CDR861 power, speed and comfort, it's in a very compact package. It's a mighty might for accomplishing critical tasks and the professionals love it. Well, that's C&I, continuing upward, exceeding pre-pandemic volumes, strong profitability and positions for more.
Now, on to the Tools Group, sales of $471.4 million, up $21.8 million including $4.9 million of favorable currency and a $16.9 million or 3.7% organic gain, growth in the U.S. both in the U.S. and the international operations. And the operating margin was 20.8%, one of our highest effort and up 140 basis points from last year. Compared with the pre-virus 2019 level, the organic gain was $80.4 million or 20.6% and the 20.8% operating margin was up 700 basis points compared with the pre-pandemic level, 700 basis points in the midst of operating turbulence. Tools Group is responding to the challenges of the day, increasing its product advantage, fortifying its brands and further enabling its franchisees, giving them more selling capacity, it's all working. Five strong quarters of above pre-pandemic performance says it so. Now, the third quarter is when we hold our most of you know this, the third quarter is when we hold our annual Snap-on Franchisee Conference, our SFC. This year's we are back again in person at the Gaylord in Orlando, Florida, over 9,000 attendees, a record. We have training seminars in sales growth and intelligent diagnostics. They were well attended and well received. And we had several football fields of products.
So, our franchisees could get up close and personal with our latest innovations. For the franchisees, the SFC is an opportunity for learning, for touching and ordering new products and for recharging their Snap-on batteries and believe me, they are charged. For the company, the SFC is an opportunity to gauge the franchisees' outlook on the business. One quantitative way is orders. Well, they were up, strong double digits over last year's virtual live from the Forge event and from the 2019 SFC live in Washington, D.C. And when I say up, I mean all of our product categories showed substantial gains over both of those events. And so that's the quantitative look at it. Qualitatively, I spoke with many of our franchisees. And I can attest that they were beaming, showing a lot of confidence in our business and declaring considerable optimism on their future days and decades ahead with Snap-on. We do believe our franchisees are continuing to grow stronger each quarter and we continue to invest in our future. And if you were with us in Orlando, you would have seen it unmistakably and we are investing, building franchisees' ability to use the direct interface with technicians, enabling them to better communicate their unique capability and growing technology of Snap-on product lines. We have great confidence in the power of our products and there are real reasons for the confidence.
You heard about the product awards. Well, beyond that, there is a continuous stream of terrific new offerings. During the SFC, the Tools Group unveiled its new KHP415, portable 40-inch substation power card. It's targeted at entry level technicians, the ones working on a narrow scope of repairs. It's built in our Albona, Iowa factory and the new card enables young mechanics to invest in Snap-on storage at a value price, while at the same time getting some very attractive professional features, a lockable comp compartment, fourfold distort and adjustable power tool rack that holds up the 10 tools and a power strip with 5 outlets and 2 USB ports for battery and device charging. New cart, it was well received. And it's quickly reaching what we call hit product status over $1 million of sales. It's raising upward on a steep trajectory. Beyond products, we spent time working to expand franchise'se selling capacity, harnessing social media, improving product training and RCI and the van operations and it's working. Selling capacity is up and you can see it clearly in the 5 straight gangbuster quarters for our van network. The Tools Group is on a very positive trend, ascending and leaving pre-pandemic levels way behind. Nowon to RS&I. Sales were up 14.8% or $46.9 million, including a $31.7 million or 9.9% organic uplift. Growth was weighted toward undercar equipment, but our diagnostics and information businesses also chipped in with double-digit increases. Versus 2020, RCI operating earnings were $83.3 million, representing a rise of $3.2 million.
Comparing with 2019, sales grew $41.7 million or 12.9%, including $24.2 million or 7.4% organic grain, nice growth. The RS&I OI margin was down versus the last two years, attenuated by business mix, acquisitions and currency, but it was still a strong 22.9%. So, we clearly see the potential of our runway with RS&I, expanding Snap-on's presence in the garage with coherent acquisitions and a growing line of powerful products. Third quarter annual growth was broad-based, but a strong double-digit rise in undercar equipment was an especially welcome turn. That's a nice turnaround and it was led by innovative products like our 15K four-post alignment lift. It's really taking a hold in the repair shops as they have resumed investing. This new 15K provides professional grade alignment lifting for a variety of vehicle sizes, with open front columns, best-in-class ultra-wide 26-inch runways, and integrated 100-inch show long-wear plates. It's suited to accommodate vehicles from compact passenger cars, compact passenger cars to big pickup trucks and it's low easy on approach angle makes it great even for low-profile sports cars that are often a challenge for other lifts.
Made in our Louisville, Kentucky plant on an assembly line, it's made in our Louisville, Kentucky plant on assembly line, I am very familiar with. I participated in an RCI event for that process. Our new 15K has helped drive the recovery for undercar equipment and it's driven the rise in RS&I volumes. We are quite positive about RSI's possibilities to repair shop owners and managers as the vehicle industry evolves, it's got a great future. So, that's the highlights of our quarter. Continued and strong progress, our fifth straight period exceeding pre-pandemic levels, C&I on track with strong sales and increasing profitability. RS&I, undercar, coming back, Tools Group, strong, pumped and moving vertically, the credit company solid in a storm and profitable, the overall corporation, organic sales rising 7%, Opco operating margin, 19.4%, and EPS of $3.57, a considerable rise. And most important, more testimony that Snap-on has emerged from the turbulence much stronger than we entered. It was an encouraging quarter.
Now, I will turn the call over to Aldo. Aldo?