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Matthews International Announces 1Q Earnings, Sales Reach $85 Million

Press release from the issuing company

PITTSBURGH, Jan. 17 - Matthews International Corporation today announced higher earnings for the first fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2001. Net income for the quarter was $7,821,000 versus $6,742,000 for the same quarter last year. Earnings per share for the first quarter of fiscal 2002 were $0.25 compared to $0.21 a year ago, an increase of 19.0 percent. Sales in the quarter increased 28.2 percent to $85,319,000 versus $66,556,000 in the first quarter a year ago. For the three months ended December 31, 2001, operating income totaled $13,327,000, up 16.1 percent over the first quarter of fiscal 2001. In discussing the results for the quarter, David M. Kelly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated: "I am pleased with our higher level of operating income for the quarter and the 19 percent increase in earnings per share. The operating income improvement from quarter to quarter was mainly due to acquisitions we completed since the first quarter of fiscal 2001, which more than offset a reduction in profitability as a result of divesting Tukaiz Communications last January.'' Mr. Kelly further noted that the Marking Products segment experienced a 50 percent reduction in operating profit versus the same quarter last year due to a 15 percent decline in segment sales. The sales decline resulted from the economic slowdown which has reduced demand for capital goods which Matthews sells to the automotive, tire and building industries. Mr. Kelly also reported that excluding growth from acquisitions and adjusting for the divestiture of Tukaiz Communications, first quarter sales for the Graphics Imaging segment were 5 percent lower than the same quarter a year ago. Results for this segment have been negatively affected by continued pressure on selling prices as suppliers to the corrugated and flexible packaging industries compete for volume in a contracting market. Mr. Kelly said, "Recent acquisitions and continuing focus on productivity improvements should enable Matthews to have another good year even though the economic environment remains weak.'' The Board of Directors of Matthews International Corporation also declared at its regularly scheduled meeting today a dividend of $0.02625 per share on the Company's common stock for the quarter ended December 31, 2001. The dividend is payable February 12, 2002 to stockholders of record January 27, 2002. Matthews International Corporation, headquartered in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is a designer, manufacturer and marketer principally of memorialization products and caskets for the cemetery and funeral home industries, and custom made products which are used to identify people, place, products and events. The Company's products include cast bronze memorials and other memorialization products; caskets; bronze and aluminum architectural products; cremators and cremation-related products; mausoleums; printing plates, pre-press services, and imaging systems for the corrugated and flexible packaging industries; and marking equipment and consumables for identifying various consumer and industrial products and containers.