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FIGGIE IN TALKS TO BUY FIRM TO GROW SCOTT AVIATION BUSINESS

Figgie International Inc. said Thursday it is negotiating with a "significant acquisition candidate" for its Scott Aviation business, but hasn't been able to agree upon a price.

Figgie said it signed a letter of intent to buy the unidentified firm during the third quarter, but backed away after taking a closer look at the company's operations and finances.

"We were not satisfied with the terms of the proposed transaction and revised our offer," said Glen Lindemann, Figgie's new president and chief executive officer.

Lindemann said the two firms currently are negotiating to see if they can agree on a new price. Figgie also is reviewing several other acquisition candidates for Scott.

"We will grow Scott through acquisitions," Lindemann said. "But we will not overpay just to complete a deal."

At the same time, Omniquip International Inc. has asked Figgie to lower the $150 million sale price of its Snorkel aerial-platform business after the unit's third-quarter earnings fell.

Omniquip agreed in July to buy Figgie's Snorkel unit, which makes aerial fire equipment and work platforms, for $150 million and assumed debt.

Figgie said that soft platform sales contributed to a decline in third-quarter earnings, which fell 66 percent to $2.22 million, or 22 cents a share, from $6.63 million, or 35 cents, a year ago. Sales rose 4.4 percent to $60.2 million.

Snorkel's operating profit fell 61 percent to $2.12 million as revenue declined 5 percent to $35.9 million.

Figgie had planned to use the proceeds from the Snorkel sale to finance acquisitions for Scott, where sales grew by 11 percent and operating profits increased by 18 percent during the third quarter. Figgie said Scott's aviation business, which is based in Lancaster, as well as its health and safety business in North Carolina both had strong quarters.

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