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Columbus McKinnon reports loss of $39.6 million in 3rd quarter

Columbus McKinnon Corp. reported a $39.6 million loss in its third quarter, impacted heavily, as expected, by an accounting move.

The Amherst-based material handling company's loss grew from $2.3 million a year ago. Its loss per share was $2.08, compared with a loss of 12 cents per share a year ago.

Columbus McKinnon this month signaled it was taking a huge "non-cash" charge against its deferred tax assets because it may not be able to use them.

The charge related to the company's decision, required by accounting rules, to set aside a full-valuation allowance against U.S. tax credits on its books. Those were accumulated from employee benefit plans and insurance reserves, as well as operating losses in fiscal 2010 and 2011 due to restructuring costs.

Meanwhile, Columbus McKinnon's quarterly net sales rose 8.2 percent to $129 million from $119 million a year ago. "We continue to see an increase in global economic activity," said Timothy T. Tevens, president and chief executive officer.

Its sales outside the United States increased 16.5 percent to $62.3 million, or 48 percent of net sales, from $53.5 million, or 45 percent of sales, from a year ago.

Tevens said signs point to an economic recovery, though it is unfolding perhaps more slowly than the company would like. Industrial capacity utilization rates are up, which typically leads to an increase in bookings and revenues for the company, albeit a quarter or two later, he said.

While Columbus McKinnon has completed the restructuring of its North American facilities, Tevens said he is disappointed in the pace of progress in the consolidation of its forging operations. The company has made numerous changes to that business, including in its management, and "we're now beginning to see improvements in this business."

Tevens said he is still confident the company will achieve its goal of savings of $13 million to $15 million annually. "It's just taking longer for us to achieve these benefits."

e-mail: mglynn@buffnews.com

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