CHICAGO L.B. Foster Co.s rail and tubular
business units have performed well enough to offset a
"difficult" construction market, the companys top
The Pittsburgh-based manufacturer, fabricator and
distributor of rail, energy and construction products reported
net income of $8.2 million for the third quarter ended Sept.
30, down 15.6 percent from a year-earlier $9.4 million, despite
sales that rose 7.6 percent to $170.3 million.
"The company turned in another very solid quarter and is
positioned to have a very good year in 2012," president and
chief executive officer Robert P. Bauer said in a
The companys rail and tubular businesses "more than
made up for a difficult construction market," even though
tubular products represented only 8 percent of companywide
sales in the quarter. "We have seen one of the strongest
markets for our tubular products in many years as we benefit
from exploration and production investments, especially in
shale gas applications," he added.
"Many construction markets have had a difficult year,
especially those depending on state and federal government
funding of projects," Bauer said, adding that while
Fosters bridge business will have "an excellent year with
strong sales and profit
margins ... it will not make up for the decline in piling
projects and concrete buildings that reflect the overall
construction market softness."
Looking to 2013, the underlying dynamics for the rail and
energy markets are good. There could even be "some rebound in
the construction industry," he said, "barring any government
policy issues with an unfavorable impact on the economy."