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Miller Industries hauled in less money in the first three months of 2021 than a year ago as the pandemic and supply interruptions hurt both sales and profits for the towing equipment maker.

The Ooltewah-based manufacturer said Wednesday its net income in the first quarter was $3.2 million, or 28 cents per share, down 41.5% from the same period a year earlier. Net sales for Miller Industries in the first quarter were down 3.5% from a year ago to $169.9 million

Gross profit for the first quarter of 2021 was $15.8 million, or 9.3% of net sales, compared to $18.5 million, or 10.5% of net sales, for the first quarter of 2020.

Jeffrey I. Badgley, co-chief executive for Miller Industries, said the company's operational performance during January was limited by delivery delays associated with the rollout of a new enterprise software system, as well as other COVID-19 related supply chain disruptions and limited availability of freight transportation. But Badgely said the software upgrades are now complete "and we are beginning to realize the benefits of our enhanced operational efficiencies" across the company.

"We are extremely encouraged by the current demand trends in our business as evidenced by our strong order rates and healthy backlog," Badgley said. "However, supply chain disruptions and high materials costs have potential to impact our ability to obtain certain raw materials and purchased component parts that are necessary to our production processes throughout 2021, including our ability to obtain chassis from third party suppliers."

The Company also announced Wednesday that its board declared a quarterly cash dividend of $18 cents per share, payable June 14, 2021 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 7, 2021.

— Compiled by Dave Flessner

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