Northwest Pipe's profit rises as net sales drop

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Vancouver-based Northwest Pipe Co. on Thursday reported a third-quarter profit of $3.4 million, or 36 cents per share. That compares with a profit of $3.3 million, or 35 cents per share, for the July-to-September period in 2011.

The company's net sales of $115.1 million were down by 17.4 percent, year-over-year. Driving the company's net sales decrease were competition from increased imports of energy pipe and lower drilling activity, Richard Roman, president and CEO of Northwest Pipe, said in a news release.

In August, Roman said, the company launched production of welded steel pipe for a water pipeline project in Texas -- the largest project in Northwest Pipe's history and worth $69 million in revenue to the company. As a result, Roman said, he anticipates the fourth quarter will be the strongest quarter this year for the company's water transmission division.