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Taylor Devices lost more than $42,000 during the third quarter as the North Tonawanda shock absorber manufacturer grappled with a 22 percent drop in sales, the company said Thursday.

Despite efforts to cut costs, mainly through lower commission and royalty expenses linked to the declining sales, Taylor Devices lost $42,545, or a penny per share, compared with a profit of $55,862, or 2 cents per share, a year earlier.

The company also was stung because its reduced work load was much less profitable, with gross profit margins slumping to 26 percent from 32 percent a year ago as sales dropped for the third straight quarter. High steel prices also made Taylor Devices' existing fixed price contracts less profitable, said Douglas P. Taylor, the company' president.

Taylor Devices' sales dropped to $2.62 million during the quarter that ended in February, down from $3.37 million a year earlier.

But Taylor also said in a letter to shareholders that the company is ramping up production to accommodate an influx of recent orders. The company's backlog of orders grew by 23 percent to $7.5 million at the end of February, up from $6.1 million in November.

The company also said it has won several new orders for seismic dampers used to protect buildings from damage during earthquakes, including a new Bayer drug manufacturing plant in Berkeley, Calif., a semiconductor factory in San Jose, Calif., a pair of new buildings in Taiwan and a bridge and convention center project in China. The company did not place a value on those seismic orders.

The company's research affiliate, Tayco Developments, said it lost $2,171, or less than a penny per share, during the quarter, compared with a profit of $36,586, or 4 cents a share, a year earlier.


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