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Minuteman International First Quarter Weakened by Continuing Economic Softness

May 6, 2002
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ADDISON, Ill., May 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Minuteman International, Inc., the floor-care equipment manufacturer, reported that its operating results for the first quarter of 2002 reflected the continued weakness in the economy.

Gregory J. Rau, president and CEO, said that economic statistics have been improving of late but that the sanitation supplies industry typically lags the general economy. But he is optimistic that a recovering economy combined with new product introductions and cost cuts made in recent quarters will have the company back on an improved course by the second half of the current year.

For the first quarter of 2002, net income fell 17.9 percent to $609,000, or $.17 per share, from $742,000, or $.21 per share for the first quarter of 2001. Sales for the first quarter of 2002 declined 8.8 percent to $19,760,000 as compared to $21,658,000 for the first quarter of 2001.

Rau said that the decrease in revenues was noted across all product lines, but was especially felt in the company's Multi-Clean cleaning chemicals division. This unit suffered in the first three months of 2002 by comparison with the like quarter a year ago when Multi-Clean benefited from a substantial number of stocking orders from a number of new dealers responding to the division's introduction of its Ultra Violet Coating System.

Cost cutting has been a major priority for Minuteman over the past nine months. Consequently, despite the lower sales, the gross profit margin improved to 30.7 percent of sales from 30.3 percent a year ago. Much of this improvement in profitability was noted in the company's industrial products line. Operating expenses in the first quarter of 2002 increased only slightly by 1.6 percent over the first quarter of 2001, largely due to higher professional fees.

"Despite our disappointment with year-over-year comparisons, our relatively favorable performance versus our industry peers convinces us Minuteman is poised to capitalize on the economy's eventual recovery," Rau said.

Looking ahead, Rau said, "We are confident that the efficiency and cost containment efforts we instituted in 2001 will continue to keep our costs in line while the business environment continues to be challenging for the next few months. We are, however, cautiously optimistic that the economy should improve during the second half of the year. Coupling this with the new products resulting from our R&D investments, Minuteman should be well positioned for the second half of the current year to provide improved results when compared with the final six months of 2001."

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