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A huge jump in interest costs tied to debt used to fund acquisitions led to an 11.9 percent drop in first-quarter net income at Columbus McKinnon Corp., the Amherst-based chain and hoist manufacturer said today.

While net income fell, the company's sales and operating income results were substantially higher from one year ago, helped by the acquisitions related to the interest debt.

Net income for the three months ending June 29 was $4.43 million or 33 cents per common share, compared to $5 million, or 38 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The results were in line with management's expectations and also reflect higher tax rates because of non-deductible goodwill amortization totaling $2.55 million compared to just $442,000 last year.

Net sales were $124.44 million, up $58.71 million or 89.3 percent from $65.73 million one year ago.

Income from operations jumped 74.5 percent or $6.46 million to $15.15 million from $8.68 million for the fiscal quarter ending June 30, 1996.

Interest and other expenses on a net basis totaled $6.21 million, up $6.14 million from just $73,000 one year ago.

Over the last 18 months, Columbus McKinnon has purchased Lift-Tech International Inc., Lister Bolt & Chain Ltd. and Yale Industrial Products Inc.

The company's board declared a quarterly dividend of seven cents per common share, payable Oct. 2 to shareholders of record on Sept. 18.

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