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BLOOMINGTON, MN-On the strength of its commercial real estate customers, glass manufacturer Apogee Enterprises Inc. this week reported higher sales and earnings for its first quarter. Architectural segment revenues were up 24% to $117.5 million, offsetting a 9% decline in auto glass segment revenues to $9.8 million.

“I am encouraged that our architectural segment sales were stronger than last year, which positively impacted earnings,” says Russell Huffer, Apogee chairman and chief executive officer. “In addition, we did not experience any significant project delays in the quarter, despite the ongoing softness in commercial construction markets.”

Net earnings jumped to $3.2 million, or $0.11 per share, compared to earnings of $308,000, or $0.01 per share in the same quarter a year ago. Analysts had expected earnings of $0.08 per share.

Given the stronger first quarter for the architectural segment and the continued growth in this segment’s backlog, Apogee raised its earnings guidance on the low end to $0.35 a share while maintaining the high range of $0.50 per share.

Apogee did not raise the high end because “the commercial construction markets we serve have not yet shown a sustained rebound,” Huffer says. Businesses in Apogee’s architectural segment are: Viracon, fabricator of coated, high-performance architectural glass for global markets; Harmon, Inc., a building glass installation, maintenance and renovation company; Wausau Window and Wall Systems, a manufacturer of custom aluminum window systems and curtainwall; and Linetec, a paint and anodizing finisher of window frames and PVC shutters.

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