Noland Co. (Newport News, Va.) reported third quarter net income of $1.9 million or 57 cents per share (diluted), 41% less than the year-earlier period's $3.3 million, or 97 cents per share. Third quarter sales were up 15% to $140.2 million.

For the nine months, Noland reported sales of $408.7 million, up 15% from $354.5 million last year. Net income was $11.8 million or $3.50 per share (diluted), up 28% vs. $9.2 million or $2.67 for the year-earlier period.

The company attributed the earnings decline in the third quarter to lower gross profit margins, higher operating expenses and a $587,000 decline in the gains from the disposal of surplus real property compared to the same period in 2003. Hurricanes and related bad weather in August and September disrupted business for days in several southern markets, said Lloyd U. Noland III, chairman, in a statement. “Air conditioning sales in Florida were especially hard hit,” he said, “but the inroads we are making with HVAC dealers in other parts of our territory allowed us to continue our growth with an 11% increase in air conditioning sales for the quarter.” The wholesaler's plumbing operations showed an 18% increase in sales, while electrical/industrial sales rose 15%. Gross profit margin for the quarter rose 4% vs. last year.

Customer orders for future delivery as of Sept. 30 were 15% higher than a year ago “reflecting a continued bright outlook for construction activity for the remainder of the year,” Noland said in a statement. “We believe we are still on track to turn in a solid performance in 2004, on top of our record earnings year in 2003.”