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Federal Signal's 1Q profit beats expectations

OAK BROOK, Ill. (AP) -- Federal Signal Corp. narrowed its first-quarter loss on improved margins and revenue, as well as lower interest expenses.

The company, based in Oak Brook, Ill., makes products ranging from street sweepers to toll booth technology for government, industrial and commercial customers.

Federal Signal posted a loss of $600,000, or 1 cent per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That's compared with a loss of $1.1 million, or 2 cents per share, in the first quarter last year. After adjusting for debt settlement costs and discontinued operations, it earned 12 cents per share versus 8 cents per share last year.

That exceeded the 10 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet were anticipating.

Federal Signal's total revenue increased 2 percent to $199.8 million from $196.1 million, short of the $201.4 million that analysts were anticipating.

The company said the gain was driven by higher municipal sewer cleaner shipments, as well as improved sales volume and prices in its safety and security systems group. That was partially offset by weaker demand in its Asia Pacific and Mexico markets for its environmental solutions group and weaker volumes in its Fire Rescue Group business.

Federal Signal said its orders were down 14 percent for the quarter due to a strong year last year and weaker global demand this year.

Despite the uncertain global economic environment, the company reaffirmed its forecast of earning 20 to 25 cents per share for the first half of the year on an adjusted basis.

Shares of Federal Signal rose 1 cent to $8.08 in midday trading. Its stock is at the upper-end of its 52-week trading range of $4.47 to $8.63.