Bronto up 18 per cent and production will grow

09 May 2008

First quarter sales of the Fire Rescue business of US company, Federal Signal, which now comprises solely of Bronto truck mounted, articulated aerial devices, rose 18% to $24 million.

Demand for Bronto equipment was reported to be high in international markets and significantly above the current production rate. Quarter-end backlog totalled $179 million, which is 70% higher than the same quarter last year but, the expansion of Bronto's manufacturing facilities, expected to be completed at the end of the third quarter, should provide 40% more production capacity.

"We are focusing on the expansion of our Bronto and Vactor production capacity, growing our Public Safety Systems business and expanding our product offerings in China," said Jim Goodwin, the interim president and chief executive officer at Federal Signal.

Bronto's sales in the first quarter have been limited by the "tight" chassis market in Europe and by difficulties obtaining some components.

"We are increasingly concerned about the deteriorating economic outlook," said Mr Goodwin, "The decline in our new orders is largely from our US municipal customers, who are being squeezed by higher operating expenses, and an anticipated decline in tax revenues. Meanwhile like many other manufacturers, we are facing pressure on commodity prices which means higher prices for our customers. As we navigate throughout the balance of the year we will continue to reduce costs, improve out material sourcing and tighten our expense controls."

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