The Eastern Company Anticipates Strong First-Quarter

3/30/1999 10:49:00 AM

NAUGATUCK, Conn.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 30, 1999--The Eastern Company (AMEX:EML) indicated today that it expects increased first quarter sales and earnings over the same period in 1998.

Commenting on Eastern's first quarter, Leonard F. Leganza, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "We expect our first quarter performance to continue to reflect positive results. Several new products which were introduced during the past year have enabled us to increase our business with existing customers and have also made new and related markets available to us. In addition, incoming orders and backlogs remain strong in all of our business segments."

Mr. Leganza continued, "We anticipate that Eastern will report first quarter earnings of approximately $1,400,000 or $0.55 to $0.57 per basic share which will represent about a 10% increase over the earnings reported in the previous year's first quarter. Sales for this same period are also expected to increase by about 5% compared to the same quarter in 1998. I believe the company is well positioned in its markets to increase sales and earnings 10% for the year 1999."

"The recently announced decision to institute a three-for-two stock split and raise the quarterly dividend by 10% reaffirms our confidence in the future." This dividend action is the third payout increase since December 1997 and will be effective June 15th of this year.

Eastern expects to announce its first quarter earnings during the week of April 11, 1999.

The Eastern Company manufactures and markets a broad range of locks, latches, fasteners and other security hardware that meets diverse security and safety needs of industrial and commercial customers. Headquartered in Naugatuck, CT, the Company has seven manufacturing locations in the U.S.A., Canada, Mexico and the Pacific Rim.

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.


     CONTACT: The Eastern Company
              John Dibble
              203-729-2255 (ext. 241)