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GIBRALTAR'S PROFIT MORE THAN DOUBLES

Gibraltar Industries' earnings more than doubled from a year earlier, the steel and building products manufacturer reported Wednesday evening.

Net income totaled $16.2 million, or 82 cents per diluted share in the quarter, compared with $8 million, or 49 cents in the third quarter of 2003. The per share figures do not consider the effect of a 3-for-2 stock split that was announced Oct. 5.

Quarterly sales totaled $279 million, compared to $208 million a year earlier.

"All three of our business segments once again generated double-digit sales increases from the comparable period in the prior year," said Brian J. Lipke, chairman and chief executive officer.

Even though the company has made four acquisitions so far this year, "the majority of these gains came from organic growth in our existing business units," Lipke said. He cited higher unit volumes from existing customers, sales from new accounts, and revenue from "a steady stream of new products and services."

The Hamburg-headquartered company also raised prices, "driven primarily by increased costs for steel and other commodity raw materials, which we passed on."

Lipke noted that the company has been moving into "higher value-added, higher-margin products, processes, and services." It's also been cutting costs, he said. The result is better operating margins.

"Our operating margin in the third quarter was 10.4 percent -- the second straight quarter above our 10 percent goal," he said.

He projected fourth-quarter earnings of 43 cents to 47 cents per diluted share, compared with 35 cents a year earlier.

During the first nine months of 2004, net income was $41 million, or $2.08 per diluted share, compared to $21.1 million, or $1.31 a share in the comparable 2003 period.

Sales in the first nine months were $748 million, compared to $573 million in the first nine months of 2003.

Gibraltar Industries, which changed its name this week from Gibraltar Steel, makes, processes and distributes metals and other engineered materials for the building products, automotive, and other industrial markets. It has about 4,000 employees and operates 74 facilities in 26 states, Canada, and Mexico.

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