Fire Service Gains Stand Out in MSA's Record Sales for First Quarter

Pittsburgh-based MSA this morning announced its first quarter 2008 sales set a  record at $266.3 million, up 18 percent from $225.9 million in the same quarter last year. Net income was $16.0 million (45 cents per basic share) in the first quarter this year, equal to last year's $16.1 million (45 cents) in 2007. Company officials said during their conference call that a higher effective income tax rate and intercompany currency exchange losses tied to movements in overseas currencies were offsetting factors, but they said this was a strong quarter for the company.

Outgoing Chairman and CEO John T. Ryan III, saying he was participating in his final earnings call for the company he's headed since 1991, signed off by saying the company's in good hands and in good position. Bill Lambert, president and COO, takes the reins May 13 during the company's annual meeting in Pittsburgh.

North American sales increased during the first quarter for all three MSA segments of the fire market -- SCBAs by 55 percent, fire helmets by 21 percent, and thermal imaging cameras.by 76 percent, the officials said, adding that incoming oders for the North American fire market also rose during the quarter. SCBA sales were up as the marketplace adjusted to new NFPA performance standards, with both volume and price of MSA's units rising. The company saw international sales rise by 19 percent for the quarter and operating income by 25 percent. Project Magellan, an initiative to improve the efficiency of North American manufacturing operations, is "clearly helping us improve our efficiency," Lambert said.

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