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Taylor Devices record-setting fiscal year ended with a thud.

The North Tonawanda shock absorber manufacturer’s fourth-quarter profits tumbled by 36 percent as sales of its equipment to protect buildings and bridges from earthquake damage softened.

The weak fourth quarter was a disappointing ending for a fiscal year that still saw Taylor Devices earn record profits even as the company moves into the final phase of its $2.9 million expansion project to double the capacity of its North Tonawanda manufacturing operations.

“We were pleased with our 2013 performance and believe the company is now positioned to perform well for the foreseeable future,” said Douglas P. Taylor, company president.

Taylor Devices’ fourth-quarter profits slid to $548,101, or 16 cents per share, during the quarter that ended in May, down from $862,860, or 26 cents per share, a year earlier.

However, for the full fiscal year the company’s profits jumped by 16 percent to a record $2.5 million, or 76 cents per share, even as sales slid by 17 percent to $24.7 million.

The company’s sales plunged by 47 percent to $5.2 million from $9.6 million as its workload shrunk during the spring. The company had just 16 projects in progress at the end of May, down from 28 at the same time last year, and the average value of those projects, at $415,000, was 42 percent less than the $715,000 average value of the work that was underway at the end of May 2012.

The stock closed down 67 cents, or 7.1 percent, at $8.76 on Friday.

Taylor said it booked orders for 16 different seismic and wind protection projects during the fourth quarter, mainly for buildings and bridges in the Far East, although it did not disclose the value of the new work. Its aerospace business, which strengthened last year, also won four new orders during the quarter.

As a result, Taylor Devices ended May with a backlog of $13.1 million in orders, 11 percent more than the $11.7 million in orders it had on its books in May 2012. The company said nearly 60 percent of its current backlog is for aerospace and defense projects.

Taylor Devices’ expansion project will more than double its manufacturing space and ease a space crunch, especially for its large-parts machining and assembly operations.

The company purchased three industrial buildings, located about 1.4 miles from its current facilities on Tonawanda Island, and has converted two of them into production space that will house all of its machining and metalworking operations. The third building is expected to be ready this fall, Taylor said.

email: drobinson@buffnews.com