published Tuesday, July 26th, 2011

Astec Industries sales up around world

Staff File Photo by John Rawlston
Richard Beene prepares a portable surge bin for shipment at Astec Industries.
Staff File Photo by John Rawlston Richard Beene prepares a portable surge bin for shipment at Astec Industries.
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Astec Industries grew net income by more than a third to $14.1 million in the second quarter of 2011, a jump from the $10.3 million earned in the same period a year ago.

A sharp increase in international sales and steady domestic growth drove the increase for the paving equipment maker, though political turmoil in the U.S. has held down some buying, the company said.

Revenue grew 18.5 percent to $247.8 million, well above the $209.2 million the company reported in the second quarter of 2010.

Astec CEO J. Don Brock said international sales for the year are up in South America, Canada, Australia and Europe, accounting for nearly 44 percent of the company's overall sales. International orders also account for 56 percent of the company's backlog, helping expand the value of Astec's unfilled orders to $217.1 million as of June 30, up from $139.7 million a year ago.

"We expect international sales to continue to grow and become a larger part of our business," Brock said. "We expect sales in the U.S. to be OK but not necessarily great for the rest of 2011 and 2012."

Congress is deadlocked on a highway bill, with different bills under consideration in the House and Senate, he said. Without the long-term certainty that comes with a multiyear highway creation bill, contractors don't make bigger "strategic" purchases, Brock said, instead only buying on an as-needed basis.

Brock also reported that McKamy Hall, longtime chief financial officer, was stepping down to focus full-time on "seeking and investigating opportunities for expansion of our businesses," including "potential acquisitions that will be complementary to our existing businesses."

The company has two such acquisitions under way, though Brock would not release details other than to describe them as one medium-sized company and one small company.

Hall said that he was "proud" of the company's corporate accounting staff, and was glad that his time at the company was not yet at an end.

"I have been blessed to be part of the Astec family," Hall said. "There has certainly never been a dull moment."

Despite the earnings gain, Astec's stock fell nearly 2.3 percent in trading on the Nasdaq exchange Monday. The company's stock closed at $37.46 per share, down 87 cents per share.

Contact Ellis Smith at esmith@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6315.

about Ellis Smith...

Ellis Smith joined the Chattanooga Times Free Press in January 2010 as a business reporter. His beat includes the flooring industry, Chattem, Unum, Krystal, the automobile market, real estate and technology. Ellis is from Marietta, Ga., and has a bachelor’s degree in mass communication at the University of West Georgia. He previously worked at UTV-13 News, Carrollton, Ga., as a producer; at the The West Georgian, Carrollton, Ga., as editor; and at the Times-Georgian, Carrollton, ...

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