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Hardinge Inc. Reports First Quarter Results

ELMIRA, N.Y., May 9, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Hardinge Inc. (Nasdaq:HDNG), a leading international provider of advanced metal-cutting solutions, reported financial results for its first quarter ended March 31, 2013. Hardinge separately announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the Forkardt Workholding Group from Illinois Tool Works (NYSE:ITW). The Forkardt companies are leading global providers of high-precision, specialty and customized workholding devices for machine tools. The acquisition is expected to be completed today.

Net sales ("sales") were $67.2 million in the first quarter of 2013, down $7.5 million from sales of $74.7 million in the prior-year's first quarter. When compared with the trailing fourth quarter of 2012, first quarter 2013 sales were down $23.3 million, or 26%.

During the first quarter of 2013 the company had breakeven net income compared with net income of $2.4 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, in the prior-year's first quarter.

Richard L. Simons, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "The first quarter of 2013 represented a slow start to the year as we anticipated it would. However, we are encouraged that orders have improved by 15% over the fourth quarter of 2012. Asia appears to be experiencing an improvement in activity and we expect that by the end of the second quarter we will have a good idea of how the year will look for China and the Asia region in general. In North America, the market has been steady. While it was encouraging to see that our order levels out of Europe improved from what we experienced last quarter, we continue to expect weaker organic sales in 2013 as a result of the recession there."
Sales by Region  
($ in thousands)  
  Quarter Ended  
  March 31, 2013 March 31, 2012 December 31, 2012  
Sales to Customers in  $ % of Total  $ % Change  $ % Change  
North America   24,848 37%    18,621  33%   24,030  3%  
Europe  20,996 31%  24,657 (15)%  34,878 (40)%  
Asia  21,375 32%  31,372 (32)%  31,652 (32)%  
Total   67,219     74,650 (10)%   90,560 (26)%  

Sales in North America were up $6.2 million over the prior-year period and up $0.8 million over the trailing fourth quarter. European sales were down by $3.7 million compared with the prior year and by $13.9 million compared with the trailing fourth quarter on lower sales across all product lines, particularly grinding machines. The economic recession in Europe continues to have a negative impact on sales. First quarter sales in Asia decreased by $10.0 million compared with the prior-year period on lower grinding sales due to reduced order levels from Asia during 2012. Compared with the trailing fourth quarter, Asia sales were down $10.3 million on lower order levels in 2012 and the impact of the Chinese New Year Spring Festival in February. The economic weakness experienced in Asia during 2012, which has shown signs of recovery in 2013, impacted sales to that region in the first quarter of 2013. 

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