Eastern Co.’s earnings dip

NAUGATUCK — The Eastern Co.’s earnings have declined for the fourth quarter and for 2015, despite sales being flat in the quarter and up marginally for the year.

The 157-year-old manufacturer of industrial hardware, security products and metal castings on Friday posted net income of $1.7 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter. That is down 15 percent from $2 million, or 33 cents per diluted share, for the same period in 2014.

Net income for the full year was $5.7 million, or 92 cents per diluted share, a 26 percent decline from net income of $7.7 million, or $1.23 per diluted share, in 2014.

The slight drop in fourth-quarter earnings was primarily due to lower sales in its metal products division, partly offset by a fall in world metal prices, President and CEO August Vlak said in a statement. The greater decline in earnings for the entire year was due to one-time expenses incurred during a proxy contest in the first half of the year that caused diluted shares to drop by 21 cents, he said.

Sales for the fourth quarter were $34.4 million, unchanged from the same period a year ago. Sales for the entire year of 2015 were up almost 3 percent, however, to $144.6 million from $140.8 million in 2014.

Sales for the fourth quarter and full year gained 4.4 percent and 4.6 percent respectively from a year earlier in the industrial hardware segment due to more military aftermarket orders to equip “up-armored” Humvees for lighter-duty operations, Vlak said.

Stronger sales of its paddle rotary latches and hinges for the Class 5 and 6 light service body vehicles also played a factor, he said.

Sales in the security products segment for the fourth quarter and full year were up 12.9 percent and 14.6 percent respectively from a year ago, thanks to growth in the electronic payment solution products for domestic and international markets, he said.

Sales grew by 35 percent over the entire year from 2014, in part due to the purchase of Agro Transdata in December 2014.

Sales in the metal products segment were down 25.6 percent and 18.8 percent for the fourth quarter and full year from a year earlier, however, due to softness in the coal-mining industry and lower oil and gas prices, Vlak said.