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Columbus McKinnon reports jump in profits

Stronger sales in both the United States and its foreign markets, coupled with the February acquisition of a Michigan company that makes overhead light rail workstations used in factories, helped Columbus McKinnon Corp. boost its second-quarter profits by 49 percent.

The higher earnings easily topped analyst forecasts, and the Amherst-based material handling equipment maker’s sales of $147 million were slightly stronger than the $146.3 million analysts were expecting.

Columbus McKinnon said it’s profits rose to $10.6 million, or 53 cents per share, up from $7.1 million, or 36 cents per share, a year ago. Analysts had expected Columbus McKinnon to earn 39 cents per share during the quarter that ended in September.

The company’s sales grew by 6 percent from $138.9 million a year ago, with the $2.9 million in revenues from its Unified Industries acquisition accounting for more than a third of the increase. The company’s sales also were helped by slightly higher prices and an additional shipping day during the quarter.

The rising sales volume and a more lucrative mix of revenues, coupled with the higher prices and the acquisition pushed the profitability of Columbus McKinnon’s business to a record high. The company’s gross profit margin improved for the 16th straight quarter to an all-time high of 32.1 percent.

The acquisition helped push Columbus McKinnon’s U.S. sales, which account for 58 percent of its total revenues, up by 8 percent to $84.9 million. The company’s international revenues grew by 3.5 percent as stronger sales in emerging markets offset weakness in its European business.

The company’s backlog of orders shrunk by 7 percent to $82.2 million at the end of September, compared with $88.3 million at the end of June.

email: drobinson@buffnews.com