Volume 39, Issue 9, September  2004


Apogee Enterprise Announces Fiscal 2005 First Quarter Earnings
Minneapolis-based Apogee Enterprises Inc. has announced its fiscal 2005 first quarter earnings. 
“We achieved our expectations for the quarter, which gives us a solid start to the year,” said Russell Huffer, chairperson and chief executive officer. “I am encouraged that our architectural segment sales were stronger than last year, which positively impacted earnings.” 

First quarter earnings from continuing operations were 11 cents per share, or $3.1 million, versus earnings of $0.01 per share, or $0.4 million, in the prior-year period. Revenues increased 20 percent, with architectural segment revenues up 24 percent, outperforming the non-residential commercial construction market. Operating income grew to $3.2 million due to higher sales, greater consistency in installation project management and improved project flow, somewhat offset by a lower-margin project mix and overall lower pricing. In addition, segment backlog grew 55 percent from the prior-year period and 4 percent from year-end, primarily as a result of the installation business. 

Morse Industries Reports Record Sales in June
Morse Industries of Kent, Wash., announced it set a single month sales record for June. The company’s sales were 17 percent higher than its record set in April, and 25 percent higher than last June’s. Its revenues for the first six months of 2004 were 16 percent higher than in the first six months of 2003.

“Beginning [in] 2004, we decided to make distributors our highest priority. We are working to strengthen these relationships by helping steer business to them and increased stocking of popular items,” said Andrew Johnson, marketing director. “This strategy has paid of for us, our distributors and their customers.” 

PPG Says Its Actions During Recession Position It for Growth
Raymond W. LeBoeuf, chairman and chief executive officer of Pittsburgh-based PPG Industries, said the company is positioned for growth thanks to taking quick action during the recession. At the first signs of recession in late 2000, LeBoeuf said the company focused efforts on generating cash and accelerating cost reductions, while pursuing growth.

“For the first time in three years we … are optimistic about the global economy,” LeBoeuf said. “Obviously, improving economic conditions will help us, but just as important are the steps we took during the downturn to be able to generate growth when the economy rebounded.” 

In 2003 PPG said it generated $1.1 billion in cash from operations, allowing it to reduce debt by almost $400 million. The company said its debt-to-cash ratio dropped 36 percent at the end of last year. PPG also reported an increase in its cash position by about $375 million last year, and expects strong cash flow in 2004 as well.
LeBoeuf said that as a result of strong cash flow, PPG’s board of directors voted to increase the company’s dividend by 1 cent to 45 cents a share. In addition, LeBoeuf said the company plans to purchase up to $100 million of stock by the end of the year under a previously authorized 10-million share repurchase plan.


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