Since 2000, Crane has pursued a consistent strategy for profitable growth. Our objective is to grow Economic Value Added (EVA) by continuing to transition to a more integrated operating company with a common business system and to use our excess cash flow to make strategic acquisitions to strengthen existing businesses, to increase our dividend and to repurchase our stock.
We have made substantial, tangible progress in the execution of this strategy. We are a better company in many ways: our financial results have improved; significantly, we have a strong balance sheet that provides us with substantial financial flexibility. We have developed highly disciplined business management processes; we have created a smaller number of larger business units; and in so doing, we have reduced costs, improved customer focus and formed stronger and deeper management teams.
Nonetheless, we believe we are just getting started. In so many respects, the better we get, the more opportunities we see. As we capture these opportunities, we expect to continue to build long-term value for our shareholders.