Piping systems manufacturer MFRI Inc.in Niles said projects in the gas and oil industry, as well as in the Mideast, boosted first quarter 2013 sales 30 percent over last year.
Overall sales increased to $57.7 million, up from $44.5 million in the prior-year quarter. Piping systems sales increased $16.3 million in the quarter due to the ramp up of sales in Saudi Arabia with deliveries to major projects including the expansion of the Grand Mosque in Mecca and King Abdul-Aziz International Airport in Jeddah. The increase is also due to domestic offshore oil and gas projects that were under way during the current quarter and which will continue into the second quarter.
Filtration products decreased by $4.3 million due primarily to continued reduced demand for fabric filters.
The company said net income was $1.60 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $(0.30) per diluted share in the same period in 2012.
"We are certainly pleased with the first quarter results. In addition to the $11.4 million pretax gain from the previously announced sale of substantially all of the Industrial Process Cooling segment assets, we posted a pretax profit from continuing operations of about $2 million," said MFRI President and CEO Bradley Mautner.
Gross profit almost doubled to $13.1 million in the current quarter from $6.8 million in the prior-year quarter due to the sales increase in piping systems while filtration products gross profit decreased due to lower sales volume.
MFRI's backlog on April 30, 2013 was approximately $145 million, a slight increase from the prior quarter but almost 80 percent higher than the backlog at the end of April last year, the company said.
"This is especially important as we finance the needs that result from our significant growth in backlog," Mautner said. "All of these elements should provide a solid base for continued revenue growth and profitable performance in the quarters to come."