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Economy and Business

Boom in oil-gas drilling isn't showing up in Timken's earnings as hoped
First-quarter earnings are off, especially in steel, as shareholders prepare for a vote on whether the company should split

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M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

Two weeks before shareholders vote on whether to split the Timken Company’s steel and bearing businesses into two, a new earnings report shows Timken’s sales are suffering. WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that’s in part a result of the oil and gas industry’s ratcheting back.

SCHULTZE: Timken's earning show a big drop in steel

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The first quarter report shows Timken’s sales are down 23 percent over all those sectors from the same period a year ago. But the biggest decrease came in steel, down 35 percent.  Timken had ratcheted up in part to supply special steel for the oil-and-gas drilling boom, and that's fallen short of expectations.

Joe Hoagland is president of the United Steelworkers local that represents some  2,300 Timken workers says the steel business is cyclical.

“The third quarter of 2010, we actually had everybody recalled, and the company started to hire people. And then back down again starting last August, layoffs, August and September. We still have actually 160 people laid off. So it’s been that little bit of a ride the last four years.”

In all, the sales totaled $1.1 billion for the first quarter of 2013. Still, Timken CEO James Griffith says the first-quarter results were  “in line with our expectations," and that orders increased as the first quarter progressed.

The California teacher’s pension system and a group called Relational Investors are pushing to split Timken’s steel and bearing businesses into two. Today, ISS, a group that advises shareholders who delegate their votes, issued a statement supporting the split.

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