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Myers Industries posts record sales

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Myers Industries Inc. announced net income of $16.3 million on record net sales of $661.1 million for its fiscal year ended Dec. 31, 2003. That compares to net income of $23.9 million on net sales of $608 million in 2002.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Myers recorded net income of $4.35 million on net sales of $176.5 million. The sales total was the highest for any quarter in the company's history.

The company reported that favorable foreign exchange rates accounted for $7.4 million of the sales increase, "but did not have a material impact on net income for the quarter."

The fourth-quarter financial results compare favorably to 2002's results, when the company posted net income of $4.04 million on sales of $159.3 million.

"Profitability improved in the fourth quarter, but full year earnings were impacted by higher costs for plastic raw materials and pricing pressure in markets for our plastic products," said Chairman and CEO Stephen Myers.

Cash flow from working capital management allowed the company to reduce debt by $10 in the fourth quarter and $17.4 million for the year.

Myers increased sales in both its manufacturing and distribution business segments in 2003.

Manufacturing: Sales increased close to 10% for the year and 12% for the fourth quarter. Unit sales also improved during the year vs. 2002 and remained strong through the fourth quarter.

The price of high-density polyethylene plastic was an average of 36% higher than it was the previous year. The upward trend of raw material prices has continued into 2004, according to the company.

"To help mitigate the increases in resin costs, we continue to make gains in productivity, volume purchasing of raw materials and streamlining manufacturing operations to a leaner profile," said Greg Stodnick, vice president of finance and CFO.

"We believe there are opportunities for further cost management improvements, but ultimately we will need to receive higher prices for the value we are creating for our customers."

Distribution: Sales increased 3% for the year and 7% for the fourth quarter compared to the same periods in 2002. The company said consolidation within the independent tire dealer channel affected the segment's operating margin due to pricing pressures.

The company said it expects the consolidation trend to be offset by new opportunities "that are arising in the service niche of the automotive dealer market."

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