published Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Miller Industries sales, earnings fall

The slowing economy in Europe cut sales for Miller Industries Inc. during the first three months of the year by more than 10 percent, slicing net income this winter by a third from last year’s results.

The Ooltewah-based tow equipment maker said Wednesday it earned $1.3 million, or 12 cents per share, on sales of $85 million in the first quarter of 2013. In the same period a year ago, Miller Industries earned $2 million, or 18 cents per share, on sales of $95 million.

“Our first quarter results reflected the ongoing uncertain global economic conditions that continue to affect our customer base,” Miller CEO Jeffrey I. Badgley said in a statement released after the market closed Wednesday. “The challenging environment in Europe further impacted our sales and margins in the first quarter, diminishing otherwise sustained moderate improvement in demand trends within our domestic base.”

Badgley said Miller has boosted U.S. production to meet more domestic demand, even with a price increase this winter to offset higher material costs. But European sales continue to shrink.

“We are encouraged by our current domestic commercial backlog that has reached levels not sustained in the past three years,” Badgley said.

Miller also announced that it was on schedule with a prime contractor to provide towing and recovery equipment to the French military through the end of 2014.

Separately, Miller Industries announced Wednesday that it pay a quaterly cash dividend of 14 cents per share on June 24 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 17.

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