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Astronics Corp. Tuesday said its third-quarter profits soared by 45 percent as the Buffalo manufacturer continued to reap benefits from its recent investments in new products and equipment.

The manufacturer of electronic systems and specialty printing and packaging said its earnings shot up to $678,000, or 13 cents per share, from $467,000, or 10 cents per share, a year earlier.

Astronics' earnings increased for the tenth straight quarter as the company got a boost from growth in its electronic systems and printing and packaging businesses, in addition to its acquisition last November of Loctite Luminescent Systems Inc., a New Hampshire firm that makes lighting systems that are used for dashboards and airplane cockpits, among other things.

"Everything is contributing," said John M. Yessa, the firm's vice president of finance. "At this point, we have the acquisition costs under control and we're not bleeding from that."

The company also is reaping benefits from its capital investment program, which saw the company spend $6 million on new equipment and processes last year and another $4 million this year.

Those investments have helped the company boost its productivity and quality, while reducing the amount of scrap produced by its manufacturing operations, Yessa said.

Yessa also said the company expects its strong growth to continue through the fourth quarter, although the rate of improvement may tail off this quarter because the acquisition will have been in effect for a full year beginning next month. Yessa predicted that the company will enjoy double-digit growth next year.

Astronics' third-quarter sales surged by 45 percent to $9.1 million from $6.3 million, with the Loctite acquisition accounting for slightly less than $2 million of that increase, Yessa said. The company's existing businesses have been growing at an average rate of 10 percent to 15 percent this year.

For the first nine months of the year, Astronics' profits rose by 56 percent to $1.4 million, or 27 cents per share, from $913,000, or 19 cents per share, a year ago. Sales increased by 44 percent to $28.3 million from $19.7 million.

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