WALLA WALLA, Wash., Nov. 11, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Key Technology, Inc. (Nasdaq:KTEC) announced today sales and operating results for the year ended September 30, 2010. Net sales for fiscal 2010 were $115.8 million, a 9.8% increase from the $105.4 million reported for fiscal 2009. The Company reported net earnings for the year of $3.6 million, or $0.69 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $491,000, or $0.10 per diluted share, for fiscal 2009. David Camp, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We are pleased by the return to profitability in fiscal 2010. In 2009, we made two critical decisions: continue investing in new product solutions and continue reducing operating expenses. We are now realizing the positive effect of these actions, and expect that the benefits will continue into fiscal 2011." Key Technology also announced results for its fiscal 2010 fourth quarter. Net sales for the three-month period ended September 30, 2010 were $31.0 million, 8.3% higher than the $28.6 million reported for the same quarter last year. The Company reported net earnings for the fourth quarter of $1.0 million, or $0.19 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $45,000, or $0.01 per diluted share, in the same period a year ago. For the 2010 fiscal year, gross profit was $40.2 million compared to $39.0 million for fiscal 2009, or 34.7% and 37.0%, respectively, of net sales. Gross profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 was $11.0 million compared to $10.0 million in the corresponding period last year, or 35.6% compared to 34.9%, respectively, of net sales. Gross profit margins for fiscal 2010 were primarily affected by competitive pricing pressures and a lower margin product mix. Camp also commented, "We are seeing an increase in larger project opportunities over what we saw a year ago at this time, particularly in North America, and we believe this should carry into fiscal 2011. These opportunities, however, are accompanied by continuing competitive challenges in the market and, accordingly, we are striving to identify and implement additional cost-of-sales reductions in fiscal 2011."