Profits increase for The Eastern Co. in 2012

The Eastern Co.’s headquarters on Bridge Street in Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE
The Eastern Co.’s headquarters on Bridge Street in Naugatuck. –RA ARCHIVE

NAUGATUCK — The Eastern Co. has announced its profit in 2012 soared 57 percent as all three of its business segments registered higher revenue and earnings.

The Naugatuck-based industrial conglomerate reported net income of $8.63 million, or $1.38 per diluted share, for the year compared with $5.50 million, or 89 cents per diluted share, in 2011. The earnings came on net annual sales of $157.5 million, a 10 percent increase from $142.9 million in 2011.

Eastern is a 155-year-old company that makes vehicular and industrial hardware; locks; latches; metal castings; coin-vending and smart card products; and a proprietary line of mine roof expansion anchors used to secure the roofs of underground coal and metallurgical mines. The products are made in 10 manufacturing plants in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Taiwan and China.

The company employs about 730 workers in the United States and Canada, and another 500 in China.

For the fourth quarter of 2012, Eastern reported earnings of $1.72 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, an 18 percent increase from $1.46 million, 24 cents per diluted share, for the final quarter of 2011.

Fourth-quarter earnings came on sales of $35.8 million, down 6 percent from $38.1 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. The reduced sales were the result of “a drop in sales of our lightweight composite panels for use in the electronic white-board industry,” said Leonard Leganza, the company’s chairman, president and CEO.

Leganza said all three of the company’s business segments — industrial hardware, security products and metal products — “experienced increased sales and earnings in 2012 compared to the prior year.”

The industrial hardware segment benefited from “better-than-anticipated sales of hardware in the military markets,” he said. The segment also saw continued demand from the Class 8 truck market for its highly engineered hardware products, such as the new line of air vents it launched in 2012, and continued demand for its lightweight composite products used in manufacturing sleeper cabs and truck bodies.

The metal products segment was helped by continued demand for its mine roof support products. The segment also increased its contract casting business, enabling it to provide new products to various industrial markets that boosted revenue during the year.