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Lakeland net loss widens, Ebola gear sales expected to boost 4Q

The Ronkonkoma headquarters of Lakeland Industries.

The Ronkonkoma headquarters of Lakeland Industries. Photo Credit: Google

Lakeland Industries Inc., a maker of protective garments and gear that has received higher orders in the wake of the Ebola epidemic in Africa, reported higher quarterly sales Wednesday but a wider net loss for the quarter ended Oct. 31.

Sales at the Ronkonkoma-based manufacturer rose due to increased transactions from its existing customers, the company said. However, Lakeland said its Ebola gear sales weren't reflected in the third quarter and will boost its fourth quarter.

The company's net income took a hit from the impact of extinguishing high-cost debt, and from poor performance at its Brazil operation.

Net sales were $25.1 million for the third quarter, up about 10 percent from the same quarter last year, when sales were $22.8 million.

Lakeland, however, reported a loss of $2.5 million, or 42 cents per diluted share, compared with $1.8 million, or 31 cents per share, a year earlier.

During a conference call following the earnings release, Lakeland chief executive Christopher J. Ryan received numerous questions related to Ebola. The company, which makes protective hazmat suits usable by health care workers treating Ebola, received orders for 1 million suits in October in response to the spread of the disease. Ryan said those orders are still being shipped.

Earlier this year, the company's shares surged as high as $29 amid fears over Ebola's spread both domestically and abroad.

Lakeland's share price rose 53 cents to $11.76 yesterday. The earnings were released after the markets closed, and in early after-hours trading, the share price fell about 9 percent to $10.74.

Ryan said on the conference call he was optimistic going into the fourth quarter. "We're going to organically grow with or without Ebola," he said.

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