Eastern Co. reports earnings

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NAUATUCK — The Eastern Co.’s earnings have increased for the fourth quarter and full year of 2016, despite sales being down in the quarter and for the year.

The 158-year-old manufacturer of industrial hardware, security products and metal castings on Feb. 10 posted net income of $2.6 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, for the fourth quarter. That is up 53 percent from $1.7 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, for the same period in 2015.

Net income for the full year was $7.8 million, or $1.25 per diluted share, a 37 percent increase from net income of $5.7 million, or 92 cents per diluted share, in 2015.

Fourth-quarter net sales were $34.1 million, down from $34.4 million for the same period in 2015. Sales for the entire year of 2016 were $137.6 million, which is down from $144.6 million in 2015.

“Results from our businesses varied in the fourth quarter and the year,” President and CEO August Vlak said in a statement. “In the fourth quarter, our composite panels business showed solid improvement in both sales and earnings compared to the fourth quarter 2015. Earnings from our metal products segment also improved in the fourth quarter as a result of cost reductions implemented earlier in the year. In addition, we benefitted from a stronger dollar in the fourth quarter and year.

“Our decision to freeze our salaried employees retirement plan in May 2016 not only strengthened our balance sheet but also contributed [21 cents] per diluted share in the fiscal year 2016, compared to the prior year. At the same time, we substantially enhanced our employee 401(k) plan. The elimination of one-time costs of $1.4 million, net of tax, associated with the proxy contest in the first half of 2015, similarly contributed to an improvement for the full fiscal year 2016 over the fiscal year 2015.”