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Armstrong surges; Burnham struggles

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Three firms with ties to the midstate have announced their quarterly earnings.

Armstrong World Industries Inc., a Lancaster-based designer and manufacturer of floors and ceilings, reported first-quarter net income of $16.9 million, or 30 cents per diluted share, a major jump from $3.2 million, or 5 cents per diluted share in the year-ago quarter.

The surge was thanks to a lower interest expense write-off of deferred financing costs during the first quarter of 2013 as a result of the refinancing transaction, according to a news release from the company.

Net income and earnings per share were negatively impacted by higher income-tax expense as a result of increased sales and profitability when compared with the prior year, according to the release. Comparable earnings per share also benefited from the company's $260 million share repurchase in the third quarter of 2013.

Net sales were $634.4 million, up from $622.3 million, or 1.9 percent, in the first quarter 2013. Operating income was $52.5 million, up from $47 million, or 11.7 percent, in the year-ago quarter.

"I'm pleased that, despite challenging weather conditions, first quarter sales were up 2 percent versus prior year," CEO Matt Espe said in the release. "In spite of this headwind, we delivered adjusted EBITDA of $83 million, up 7 percent from the prior year, through the dedication by our teams around the world to drive price to cover continued inflation in raw material costs and enhance productivity across our manufacturing plant network."

Armstrong trades its shares on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker AWI.

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Burnham Holdings Inc., the Lancaster-based parent company of manufacturers of boilers and related HVAC products and accessories, reported a decline in first-quarter sales of more than 13 percent because of carry-over demand created by Superstorm Sandy and severe winter weather.

First-quarter sales were $35.7 million, down from $41.1 million in the year-ago quarter, according to a news release from the company. Net loss for the first quarter was $786,000, or 17 cents per share, compared with income of $623,000, or 14 cents per share, reported for the first quarter of 2013.

Cost of goods sold as a percentage of sales for the current quarter was 80.6 percent, compared to first quarter 2013 of 76.4 percent, which was the lowest percentage in more than six years, the company said. The low COGS percentage for 2013 was mainly a result of the high residential mix of products sold in the first quarter last year.

"Improving consumer confidence levels and existing home turn-over in the northeast should prove favorable to the residential boiler industry," the company said in the release. "Additionally, the commercial portions of our businesses continue to see increased backlogs versus the corresponding period of last year, also indicating general improvement to overall business conditions."

However, the company, which trades through Pink Sheets under the ticker BURCA, expects this year's harsh winter might pay dividends in the coming months as residents and businesses replace or upgrade heating and cooling equipment.

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Franklin Financial Services Corp., the bank holding company of F&M Trust, reported earnings of $1.8 million for the first quarter, a 17.7 percent increase when compared to first quarter 2013. On a per-share basis, diluted earnings were 44 cents for the first three months of 2014, compared with 38 cents for the same period in 2013.

Total assets of the Chambersburg-based company declined 2.6 percent to $1.03 billion from total assets of $1.05 billion a year ago. Total deposits and repurchase agreements were $908.8 million at the end of the first quarter, decreasing 3.5 percent from the first quarter of 2013. At quarter end, net loans declined 2.6 percent from totals a year earlier, while the market value of trust assets under management increased 4.1 percent to $569.8 million.

F&M Trust operates 25 community banking offices in Cumberland, Franklin, Fulton and Southern Huntingdon counties. Franklin Financial trades its shares over the counter under the symbol FRAF.

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