The Eastern Company Reports Results for 2002 Year-End and Fourth Quarter

1/28/2003 10:50:00 AM

NAUGATUCK, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Jan. 28, 2003--The Eastern Company (AMEX:EML) today announced the operating results for the fourth quarter and full year 2002. Sales for the year 2002 were $81.3 million, which is down slightly when compared to sales of $82.8 million in 2001. Sales for the fourth quarter of 2002 were $19.7 million, compared to $18.9 million in 2001, an increase of 4%. Sales increases in the fourth quarter were registered in both the Security and Industrial Hardware groups of the Company, while sales in the Metal products group decreased slightly in the fourth quarter.

For the full year 2002 net income decreased to $3.3 million or $ .89 per diluted share, compared to net income of $3.9 million or $1.07 per diluted share, in 2001. Fourth-quarter net income was $1.2 million, or $.32 per diluted share compared to the $1.7 million or $ .46 per diluted share reported in the fourth quarter of 2001. Income in the prior years fourth quarter and full year 2001 had been affected favorably by the one time gain of $450M, $ .12 per diluted share, as a result of having received 26,000 shares of Prudential Financial Inc. common stock. In addition, the prior full year and fourth quarter earnings were also favorably impacted $ .11 per diluted share because of lower than expected utility and compensation costs.

Leonard F. Leganza, President and CEO stated, "The reported financial results for 2002 after taking into account the impact of the items mentioned above were comparable to the results for 2001. The economic conditions during both years were also comparable and while there were some brief signs of improvement in the manufacturing sector at various times during the year, there is still little evidence of a strong economic recovery. In addition, net income for 2002 was adversely effected by several factors including conditions in the stock market and its impact on the Company's pension expense, additional personnel expenses due to our restructuring projects, and increases in health and liability insurances. The reported earnings results, even with level sales volume, would have been much stronger without these additional expenses." Leganza continued, "The Company, despite current economic conditions has positioned itself to take full advantage of a more robust economy."

The Eastern Company is a 145-year-old leading manufacturer of vehicular and industrial hardware, locks, metal castings, coin collection and smart card products. It operates from ten locations in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Taiwan and China. The diversity of the Company's products enables it to respond to the changing requirements of a broad array of markets.

Forward-Looking Statements: Information in this news release contains statements which reflect the Company's current expectations regarding its future operating performance and achievements. Actual results may differ due to the many economic uncertainties that affect the Company's business environment. Further information about the potential factors which could affect the Company's financial result are included in the Company's reports and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The Company is not obligated to update or revise the aforementioned statements for those new developments.

Statement of Consolidated Income (unaudited)


                      THREE Months Ended        TWELVE Months Ended

                      13 wks       13 wks       52 wks       52 wks
                     Dec. 28,     Dec. 29,     Dec. 28,     Dec. 29,
                       2002         2001         2002         2001
                   ------------ ------------ ------------ ------------
 Sales             $19,684,263  $18,907,168  $81,337,207  $82,825,353

Net Income After
 Tax                 1,178,232    1,681,560    3,291,900    3,912,919

Net Income Per
           Basic         $0.32        $0.46        $0.91        $1.08
           Diluted       $0.32        $0.46        $0.89        $1.07

Weighted average
 shares outstandings:
        Basic        3,633,207    3,627,385    3,631,278    3,623,291
        Diluted      3,633,207    3,627,385    3,681,084    3,667,179

CONTACT: The Eastern Company
Leonard F. Leganza or John L. Sullivan III