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Knives boost Servotronics profits

Soaring sales of its military knife products helped Servotronics more than double its third-quarter profits as sales jumped by 50 percent, the Elma servocontrol and cutlery manufacturer said.

The surge in military knife sales, fueled by $2.3 million in orders received earlier this year for survival-oriented products, pushed the company's cutlery business back into profitability after losing money a year ago.

Overall, Servotronics' profits rose to $476,000, or 22 cents per share, from $227,000, or 11 cents per share, a year earlier. The company's sales jumped to $8.5 million from $5.6 million.

Most of the increase in sales and all of the rise in profits came from Servotronics' cutlery business, which more than doubled its sales during the quarter because of the surge in military shipments. Cutlery sales jumped to $4.3 million from $1.8 million a year ago, which helped the business earn an operating profit of $290,000, compared with a loss of $135,000 a year earlier.

While sales grew by 7 percent to $4.1 million at its Advanced Technology Group, which makes motion-control equipment, primarily for aerospace, industrial and military customers, its operating profits slipped by 5 percent to $758,000.

Servotronics executives said its overall profits rose because of the increase in shipments, coupled by efforts to control costs and the start of production on some of its programs that had carried significant development expenses during previous quarters.

Servotronics said it expects sales at its Advanced Technology Group, which accounted for 49 percent of its third-quarter revenues, to continue rising into next year because of the company's efforts to push into new markets and the beginning of production on some of its contracts.

The company also said it paid about $200,000 during a September creditor's auction to buy tooling and other assets of Camillus Cutlery, a suburban Syracuse knife manufacturer that closed earlier this year. Servotronics officials said they hope to "reconnect" with Camillus' former customers and expand the cutlery business' product line.

e-mail: drobinson@buffnews.com

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