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MINNEAPOLIS-Apogee Enterprises, which develops and delivers value-added glass products and services for the architectural and other industries, says its earnings were unexpectedly strong despite the economic slowdown, and one of its strongest business segments is the construction industry. Even so, the company is cautious about the future of this segment, as the effects of the economic slowdown take effect.

The Minneapolis-based company says its second quarter net earnings of $10.3 million, or $0.36 a share, increased more than 140% compared to the prior-year period, well ahead of expectations. The company’s revenues for the second quarter totaled $210.2 million, down 3% compared to the second quarter of last year.

“And, I’m pleased to report that despite the economic slowdown, we are seeing growth in our architectural segment, our largest and strongest, as the construction industry continues to expand its use of our value-added glass and window products and services,” says Russell Huffer, Apogee chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Revenues for Apogee’s architectural segment grew 6% to $120.0 million, as its operating income increased 50% to $9 million. This strong growth was due to a combination of increased revenue, more efficient and effective operations and a higher-margin product mix. The architectural segment backlog held at $190.4 million, up 7% from a year ago. The company is monitoring the backlog in this segment, as it has experienced some minor project delays.

The company increase its projects for fiscal year 2002, raising its earnings per share estimates to $0.90 a share from $0.85 a share. Apogee expects single-digit growth — revised from high single-digit growth — as markets continue to shift to the value-added materials and services provided by Apogee’s businesses and the company captures previously unmet demand. The construction industry is Apogee’s largest market and impacts this segment. Although independent construction industry research firms continue to predict a flat to down market overall for calendar 2001.

The company cautions there are no assurances that Apogee’s expected architectural segment growth due to its strength serving high-end markets with value-added products will not be impacted by the slowing economy.

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