Architectural glass sales help Apogee to strong third quarter

Strong architectural glass sales helped Apogee Enterprises Inc. produce a strong third quarter that was newly refocused on profitable building glass instead of the now-divested, money-losing Harmon AutoGlass stores.

The Bloomington-based maker of building, auto, picture and optical glass upgraded its fiscal 2005 profit guidance to between 53 and 58 cents a share, up from the previous estimate of 45 to 55 cents a share. Revenue is expected to rise 11 to 13 percent in 2005, up from the prior guidance of 9 to 12 percent.

Earnings from continuing operations rose 2 percent to $5.4 million, or 21 cents a share.

Apogee issued its earnings report Wednesday afternoon after the markets closed. On Thursday, Apogee shares fell 24 cents to close at $13.77.

"We are pretty excited that we have been able to see our markets stabilize," CEO and President Russell Huffer said. He added that commercial office construction was beginning to pick up again after a lackluster four years. Apogee's architectural division saw a 20 percent bump in revenue to $130 million during the quarter. The segment's operating income grew from $1.7 million to $5.3 million.

Apogee owns Viracon, the Owatonna-based building glass company that also specializes in blast- and bullet-proof glass.

Huffer said he expects building glass revenue to grow 18 to 20 percent in fiscal 2005, up from the prior guidance of 14 to 17 percent.

On Dec. 10, Apogee completed its purchase of Architectural Wall Solutions Inc., a closely held Illinois glass company that is expected to add $25 million to revenue a year. In September Huffer announced that the company would spend $12 million expanding its Georgia architectural glass factory.

While operating income rose in the company's auto glass and optical glass units, revenue fell a respective 36 percent and 15 percent to $8 million and $18.8 million.

600450 Architectural glass sales help Apogee to strong third quarter
Date: 20 December 2004

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