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Gibraltar profits more than double

Gibraltar Industries' second-quarter profits more than doubled as the Hamburg-based building products manufacturer's sales grew by 18 percent.

The company's profits jumped to $7.8 million, or 25 cents per share, from $3.5 million, or 11 cents per share, as Gibraltar benefited from an aggressive program over the last few years to reduce its costs as the recession battered its key construction markets.

While those markets remain soft, the company has reduced its break-even point and has shifted the focus of its business more toward the nonresidential construction, industrial and infrastructure markets.

"We have successfully positioned Gibraltar to be profitable even at today's subdued levels of end-market activity," said Brian J. Lipke, the company's chairman and chief executive officer.

"Gibraltar performed well in the second quarter, especially in light of the limited improvement in our end-user markets," Lipke said during a conference call Thursday.

Gibraltar's sales grew to $209 million from $177 million, mainly because of a pair of recent acquisitions -- D.S. Brown in April and Pacific Award Metals in June -- that accounted for about two-thirds of the increase in revenues.

Sales from Gibraltar's existing businesses grew by 6 percent, with all of the improvement coming from higher prices. Sales volume fell by 1 percent, said Henning Kornbrekke, Gibraltar's president and chief operating officer.

Without providing specifics, Lipke said he expects Gibraltar's profits and sales to show "substantial improvement" during the second half of this year, compared with last year's weak levels, despite what he predicted will be "moderating demand" as the housing construction market remains weak.

Lipke said the company, which historically has built its business through acquisitions, continues to look for more deals. He also said the company has enough existing manufacturing capacity to handle an additional $500 million a year in sales, even though the company has closed 32 facilities over the last 3 1/2 years, leaving it with 42 sites.

email: drobinson@buffnews.com

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