MSA Safety shares drop after earnings fall short

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Shares of MSA Safety retreated today after the Cranberry safety products company reported sharply lower first-quarter earnings that fell well short of analyst estimates.

The company reported net income of $14 million, or 37 cents per share, versus earnings of $19.3 million, or 51 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter. Sales fell 2 percent to $265 million.

Excluding $1.9 million in pretax restructuring expenses and foreign exchange losses, MSA said adjusted earnings totaled 40 cents per share. Analysts were expecting adjusted earnings of 59 cents per share on sales of $288 million.

President and CEO William M. Lambert blamed the results on challenging business conditions, particularly outside the United States, and regulatory delays in approving the company's latest model of respirators for the fire service market. North American sales of the company's self-contained breathing equipment fell 22 percent during the quarter.

Order activity and the backlog of orders were at healthy levels heading into the second quarter, Mr. Lambert said.

The first quarter results were disclosed after the market closed Monday.

Shortly before noon, MSA shares were trading at $53.82, down $2.48. Through Monday, the stock was up 10 percent this year.

Len Boselovic: 412-263-1941 or

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