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Published: Thursday, 2/10/2005

Andersons posts profit records for year, quarter

One of the Toledo area's best-known companies, The Andersons Inc., had a record profit last year and its biggest-ever fourth-quarter profit.

The Maumee grain and general store company credited exceptional years in its agricultural and rail units.

In its announcement yesterday, the firm said it had a profit last year of $19.1 million, or $2.55 a share, up 63 percent from $11.7 million, $1.59 a share, for the year before. It had revenues of $1.3 billion, up $28 million from year earlier.

For the fourth quarter, it reported a profit of $8.3 million, or $1.09 a share, up 24 percent from $6.7 million, or 91 cents a share, for the same period a year earlier. Sales for the quarter were $374 million, down from $443 million a year before.

"All considered, our overall performance in 2004 was very gratifying," said Mike Anderson, president and chief executive officer.

The company got the results, he said in a statement, despite unusually high energy prices, continued escalation in health-care costs, and a huge investment in time and money to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley regulations.

Record corn and soybean production in the United States last year helped push the firm's agriculture group performance upward. Annual operating income for the unit was $21.3 million, up 53 percent from the year before.

The rail group's figures were helped by the purchase last year of more rail cars, giving the unit operating income for the year of $11 million, up 168 percent.

Wall Street has been anticipating a good earnings report, driving up the company's stock in recent days.

The stock hit a record high price Monday and yesterday closed at $31.68, off 20 cents from the previous day. The trading volume yesterday of the Nasdaq-listed stock was three times normal.

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