CHICAGO L.B. Foster Co. enjoyed a strong finish to 2012.
The manufacturer and distributor of products to the rail, construction, energy and utility markets posted fourth-quarter net income of more than $6.7 million, a 9.2-percent improvement from $6.1 million in the same period a year earlier, on sales that increased 5.2 percent to more than $140.7 million.
"The fourth quarter turned out to be a strong finish for the year," president and chief executive officer Robert P. Bauer said in a statement.
L.B. Fosters rail segment revenues rose 23.2 percent thanks to increased sales of rail distribution and transit products, and its tubular segment sales jumped 48.6 percent, but construction segment revenues fell 27.8 percent due to lower sales by the piling product line and, to a lesser extent, the fabricated bridge business.
For the full year, L.B. Fosters net income tumbled 29.3 percent to $16.2 million from $22.9 million in 2011, pulled down by charges related to warranty issues in the rail business, although sales rose 2.3 percent to $588.5 million.
The Pittsburgh-based company ended the year with a $210.9-million backlog, up 50.3 percent from a year earlier, although fourth-quarter bookings declined 6.7 percent.
The company expects the construction business will turn positive this year. "Following a number of difficult quarters, order trends indicate that an upturn is likely despite continued pressures on government budgets," Bauer said.
L.B. Foster will boost spending on capital projects for capacity and new product programs as well as add resources for new products and address underserved markets.