published Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Chattanooga-based Miller Industries reports sales up 34 percent

Miller Industries' sales jumped by more than a third this summer but profits were down slightly for the Chattanooga-based tow truck manufacturer.

Miller said Wednesday that third quarter revenues were up 34.8 percent over a year ago to $105.1 million. But the company saw a slight decrease in net income, which clocked in at $2.6 million, or 23 cents per share, compared to last year's third quarter rate of $2.9 million, or 26 cents per share.

Miller Industries CEO Jeff Badgley said the company's revenue growth is a result of increased production, investments in product development and improved consumer confidence and economic conditions.

"As a result, we delivered strong revenue growth by taking advantage of these opportunities across our markets," he said in a prepared statement. "While the margins were impacted by the product mix during this quarter, we focused on cost controls."

Badgely said the company kept selling, general and administrative expenses flat despite the sales gain.

In this year's third quarter, gross profit was $10.8 million -- 10.3 percent of net sales -- compared to $9.2 million or 11.8 percent of net sales in third quarter 2012.

Miller Industries is pushing into new markets both internationally and domestically and opened a new production line in Greeneville, Tenn., in August. The facility manufactures over-the-road trailers that can haul as many as 11 vehicles under the Delavan Brand, a joint venture between Miller Industries and the Lohr Group, a private French transportation company.

Badgley said progress on the Delavan trailers has been slower than expected.

"We have begun to produce trailers as we continue to prepare our facility and workforce for production increases," he said. "Progress has been slower than anticipated. We remain encouraged by the demand levels in the market for the Delavan product."

Miller Industries declared a quarterly cash dividend of 14 cents per share, payable Dec. 16.

Miller reported its results after the market closed.

The company's stock closed down 25 cents a share in trading Wednesday to close at $17.74 per share -- its lowest price in three weeks.

about Shelly Bradbury...

Shelly Bradbury covers police and crime in Chattanooga and Hamilton County for the Times Free Press. She's been with the paper since 2012, working first as an intern and then as a business reporter. She is from Houghton, New York, and graduated from Huntington University in Huntington, Indiana, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and minor in management. Before moving to Tennessee, Shelly previously interned with The Goshen News, The Sandusky Register and The Mint ...

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