The Toro Co. last week reported net earnings of $45.7 million, or $1.34 per share, on net sales of $562.8 million for its fiscal second quarter ended April 30. In the comparable fiscal 2009 period, the company reported net earnings of $36.9 million, or $1.00 per share, on net sales of $499.9 million.

For the fiscal year to date, Toro reported net earnings of $56.6 million, or $1.65 per share, on net sales of $894.2 million. In the first half of fiscal 2009, the company posted net earnings of $43.6 million, or $1.18 per share, on net sales of $840 million. The company’s net earnings for the same period last year were reduced by $2.1 million, or $0.04 per share on an after-tax basis, to account for workforce adjustments.

“In 2009 we fought through a difficult economic environment with a focus on what we could control to emerge even stronger when our markets started to improve,” said Michael Hoffman, Toro’s chairman and CEO. “In this early stage of the recovery, we are extremely pleased with the strong performance of our residential business and the rebound in our professional businesses. Increased end-user demand, gross margin improvement and a leaner cost structure are now driving solid improvements to our profitability.”

Professional segment net sales for the fiscal 2010 second quarter totaled $349.6 million. Shipments of landscape contractor products saw significant gains from strong customer acceptance for zero-turn riding mowers and stand-on machines. For the year to date, professional segment net sales were $562.4 million, up 4.2 percent from the first half of fiscal 2009.

Professional segment earnings for the fiscal 2010 second quarter totaled $67.6 million, up $10.7 million from the same period last year. For the year to date, professional segment earnings were $93.4 million, up $6.4 million from the first half of fiscal 2009.

Based on Toro’s financial performance through the first half of fiscal 2010, and as previously announced on May 10, the company expects earnings for fiscal 2010 to be about $2.40 per share on a revenue increase of approximately 7 percent.

The Toro Co., last week announced that its board of directors has declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of 18 cents per share. This dividend is payable on July 9 to shareholders of record on June 18.

As of May 17, the company had 33,151,485 common shares outstanding.

The Toro Co., Bloomington, Minn., is a worldwide provider of turf and landscape maintenance equipment, and precision irrigation systems.