Douglas P. Taylor, the top executive at Taylor Devices, thinks the North Tonawanda manufacturer of shock absorbers is on track for “another good and profitable year.”
But the company’s road to that goal was a rocky one during the summer.
Taylor Devices’ profits tumbled by 67 percent during its first quarter, while sales shrunk by 28 percent, as the company weathered a downturn in its key construction and aerospace markets.
The weakness was felt across almost all of Taylor Devices’ businesses and markets. Sales of the equipment that it makes to protect buildings and bridges from earthquake and wind damage plummeted by 37 percent. Aerospace sales, primarily to the defense market, dropped by 9 percent. Revenues from industrial projects slid by 15 percent.
The weakness was especially intense in Taylor Devices’ Asian markets, which have become a big source of business for its construction products. Taylor Devices’ Asian sales plunged by 46 percent, while U.S. revenues were down by 14 percent.
Still, Douglas Taylor pointed to the company’s growing backlog of orders, which grew by 12 percent over the last year to $15.4 million, as an optimistic sign for the manufacturer, which is wrapping up a $2.9 million project to expand the capacity of its North Tonawanda operations.
“2014 should be another good and profitable year,” he said. “With the expansion of our manufacturing facilities essentially complete, we can now devote all of our attention to running the business.”
During the first quarter, Taylor Devices’ profits dropped to $201,263, or 6 cents per share, down from $607,817, or 18 cents per share, a year earlier.
Sales fell to $5.3 million during the quarter that ended in August, down from $7.3 million a year ago.
The company’s stock closed at $8.17 on Thursday, down 33 cents, or 3.88 percent.
The company said its sales were hurt by a steep drop in long-term construction projects. The company finished August with 24 major construction projects under way, down from 33 in August 2012.
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 them into production space that will house all of its machining and metalworking operations. The final portions of the project will be completed this fall, Taylor said.