CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 23)—Carlisle Cos. Inc. posted net earnings of $17.1 million, nearly 34 percent higher than the $12.8 million it reported during the year-earlier period, excluding nearly $44 million in accounting changes. The manufacturer reported record sales of $476 million, 5 percent higher than the same quarter of 2002. Carlisle's Construction Materials segment accounted for most of the increase in net sales because of two acquisitions, the company said. The segment's sales rose 16 percent from year-earlier figures to $98 million, but its earnings before interest, tax and depreciation fell 19 percent to $6.3 million, primarily because of lower earnings at Carlisle's roofing joint venture in Europe. Automotive Components revenue fell 10 percent to $56 million, and EBIT dropped 24 percent to $3.1 million because of lower North American vehicle sales and reduced production levels, the firm said.