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Lakeland Industries is raising $9M in stock sale

Christopher Ryan, right, CEO of Ronkonkoma-based Lakeland Industries.

Christopher Ryan, right, CEO of Ronkonkoma-based Lakeland Industries. Managing director Vitaly Gladyshev, left, wears a ChemMax 1 suit. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

A Ronkonkoma-based manufacturer of protective clothing is selling more stock to the public to raise at least $9 million for new factories in Asia, among other expenses, according to a securities filing.

Lakeland Industries Inc., whose clothing is worn by factory workers, firefighters and the military, is offering 725,000 shares at $13.80 each. Records show an additional 108,750 shares may be sold and underwriters’ commissions will total more than $700,000.

Prior to the offering, the company had 7.3 million shares outstanding.

Lakeland’s stock already trades on the Nasdaq Stock Market, where it closed at $13.65 on Friday, up 15 cents, or more than 1 percent.

As of Friday, the company had a stock-market valuation, the number of shares times the price per share, of $109.6 million.

The 35-year-old company said it plans to use proceeds from the stock sale to potentially open and equip plants overseas, possibly in India and Vietnam, and to reduce debt and for other purposes.

Lakeland already has factories in Alabama, China, India and Mexico. About 90 percent of its payroll of nearly 1,000 workers is based overseas.

The company said while it prefers to own the plants where its protective clothing is made, “we may contract with third-party manufacturers to meet our manufacturing requirements,” according to documents filed this week with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Lakeland reported a profit of $3.9 million from continuing operations for the 12 months ended Jan. 31, 2017, down from $7.8 million a year earlier.

Executives said the decline was due in part to an absence of sales of protective garments for people fighting the Ebola virus and bird flu, both of which boosted sales in fiscal 2016. The Zika virus generated some orders but they weren’t financially significant, they said last year.

Sales from continuing operations for fiscal 2017 were down 13.5 percent, year over year, to $86.2 million.

CEO Christopher J. Ryan, in a June statement, said Lakeland hopes to increase its profit through “modifications of existing product lines to create new, higher [profit] margin garments.”

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