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Mine Safety profits edge up, sales slip

| Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Mine Safety Appliances Co. said today first quarter profits rose 2 percent, despite a slight dip in sales caused by declining sales of the company's self-contained breathing apparatus to fire departments nationwide.

Mine Safety's stock plummeted almost 7 percent in late morning trading today.

The O' Hara-based health and safety products manufacturer reported first quarter net income of $16.1 million, or 44 cents a share, up from $15.7 million, or 42 cents a share, one year ago. Sales for the quarter ended March 31 totaled $226 million, down from $228 million, one year ago.

"I am pleased with the overall strength of our incoming orders in the first quarter, even with slow activity in the North American fire service," said CEO John T. Ryan III, in a statement.

Mine Safety said sales declines in the fire service market reflected the timing of fire department funding released under the U.S. Federal Government Assistance to Firefighters Grant program, and the impact of recently published National Fire Protection Association standard for self-contained breathing apparatus.

Mine Safety's stock traded at $40.93, down $2.99, a decline of 6.8 percent, late this morning.

Mine Safety said shipments of its advanced combat and related communications systems to the military were $1.3 million and $2.1 million lower, respectively, reflecting completion of certain contracts. The company said it recently received new orders in those areas.

The company said those declines were partially offset by a $3 million increase in shipments of ballistic protection products, including those made by Paraclete Armor & Equipment, and a $1.8 million increase in closed circuit breathing apparatus shipments, mirroring a large order from the Canadian Navy.

Mine Safety acquired Paraclete Armor in September 2006. The St. Pauls, N.C.-based company develops advanced ballistic body armor used by military personnel, including Special Forces units of the U.S. military.

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