Thank you, Michelle. Good morning, and welcome to the RPM International Inc. investor call for our fiscal 2021 third quarter ended February 28, 2021.
Joining me on the call today are Rusty Gordon, RPM's Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Matt Ratajczak, our Vice President of Global Tax and Treasury, who is also supporting our Investor Relation activities.
Before we begin, I would like to note that yesterday I received my second COVID-19 vaccine shot. I have encouraged our associates to get vaccinated, and I recommend the same to everyone listening to this call. It's the only way we can all do our part to end the pandemic and return to normalcy and reinvigorate the global economy. I'll start today's call by summarizing the factors that drove our strong financial performance for the quarter and how we were able to overcome the disruption caused by the severe winter weather storm that hit the U.S. in February. I'll then discuss how we are utilizing our record cash from operations, and provide an update on our MAP to Growth operating improvement program. After that, I'll turn the call over to Matt, who will review our third quarter results in more detail. Rusty Gordon will conclude our formal remarks with the outlook for our fourth quarter.
As you recall in mid February, a severe winter storm blanketed nearly 75% of the U.S. in snow, which disrupted transportation, distribution, and supply chains. In anticipation of severe transportation gridlock, the potential of losing multiple shipping days in North America, which makes up 70% of our revenue, and the desire to make transparent communication with our investors, we lowered our third quarter guidance on February 18.
The third quarter is our seasonally low quarter and historically generates only 5% to 10% of our annual earnings.
So, the magnitude of relatively small changes in earnings becomes magnified.
However, in the end, through the extraordinary measures of our associates as well as the facts that plants, distribution centers, and transportation network resumed operations more quickly than we anticipated, we were able to catch up and execute delivery of most of our customer orders in the final week of February, which enabled us to exceed our original third quarter sales in earnings guidance.
For the quarter, we generated record consolidated sales, earnings, and cash from operations. Sales grew 8.1% with 4.9% being due to organic initiatives, 2.1% resulting from acquisitions and 1.1% as a result of favorable foreign exchange. Internationally, Europe and Canada showed good growth as well. Latin America showed growth in local currencies, but was flat when its results were translated back in the U.S. dollars. Much like last quarter, three of our four operating segments generated solid sales growth and significant leverage to the EBIT line due to our MAP to Growth operating improvement program benefits, while being leveraged to the bottom line as we have done for the last eight quarters. This was particularly impressive given the supply chain challenges in typical comparison to last year's third quarter when our adjusted EBIT increased 304%. On a segment basis, our Specialty Products Group led the way with their organic growth of 13.4% in the quarter, and produced a second consecutive quarter of double-digit top line and bottom line growth.
Our Consumer Group also generated double-digit 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, which encompasses about 15% of RPM's consolidated sales, and its strong performance in repair and renovation. Results in our Performance Coatings Group declined due to difficult conditions in its primary end markets. Matt Ratajczak will cover the segment results in more detail in a minute.
We continue to prove why RPM is the best home for entrepreneurial businesses in our industry with two acquisitions in March. These include the Tuff Coat line of rubberized non-stick coatings used for [aquatic] [Ph] applications, which is a great strategic fit with our Recreational Marine Products Group; and Bison Innovative Products, a manufacturer of raised flooring systems that will operate as part of our Fibergrate business.
We have taken a more collaborative view of our manufacturing footprint as we add capacity.
For example, to meet the consumer segment's explosive growth for its products, we are installing packaging and blending equipment at plants in our performance coatings and specialty products groups. This is an addition to capital spending in our consumer segment facilities, which includes new filling capacity for consumer group plants with particular emphasis on meeting the increased demand for small project paints, caulks and sealants in our repair categories. Other investments in our operations include new presses and injection molding equipment to meet surging orders for our Nudura ICF products and wall systems, and the construction of a new liquid applied roof coatings plant. I now like to discuss our MAP to Growth restructuring program, which continues to pay dividends.
During the quarter, and so far in the fourth quarter, we announced the closure of two plants, which brings our total to 27 of the 31 plants that we originally targeted for consolidation at the beginning of the MAP to Growth Program.
As discussed last quarter, we continue to be more efficient utilizing our manufacturing assets to generate cost saving opportunities. The benefits of our center-led procurement initiatives are becoming even more evident in the current inflationary raw material environment. Rusty Gordon will provide more color on this when he walks through our fourth quarter outlook.
Lastly, in the G&A area, we continue to consolidate IT systems and accounting and finance operations. At the end of our fiscal year, May 31, 2021, we expect to exceed the original MAP to Growth programs planned run rate of $290 million in annualized savings. The program's learnings of continuous improvement in efficiency have become ingrained in our culture, and we will continue to add to our robust pipeline of cost savings initiatives and operational improvements.
As we sustain the efficiency gains achieved through MAP to Growth, we are now shifting more focus and resources towards top line growth through internal investments and acquisitions.
Our goal is to return to the exceptional revenue growth rates that have been one of the hallmarks of RPM success since its founding in 1947. I will now turn the call over to Matt Ratajczak for a detailed review of our financial results for the third quarter of fiscal 2021.