Baker International

The nationwide drop in interest rates and internal cost-cutting programs enabled Baker International Corp. to post $17.7 million in profits for its first quarter, ended Dec. 31, a 45% gain from the $12.2 million reported a year ago, the company said Wednesday.

Revenue for the oil tool manufacturing company, which is headquartered in Orange, totaled $448.8 million for the first quarter, up only 3.4% from the $434.25 million in sales reported for the same period last year.

"The company's improvement over last year is clearly the result of cost reductions in our operating units and lower interest expense," E.H. Clark Jr., the company's chairman and president, said in a prepared statement.

Clark said Baker's board of directors Wednesday declared the regular quarterly dividend of 23 cents per share, payable Feb. 22 to stockholders of record Feb. 4.

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