Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Capital Spending Standouts

NEW YORK - From 1996 to 2001, data from the Conference Board show that orders for non-defense capital goods rose 7% on an annualized basis. Companies that have kept up a more robust pace of capital spending could be well-positioned if the recovery continues.

Example: Griffon (nyse: GFF - news - people ) has increased its capital budget by 18% (annualized) over its past five fiscal years, which end in September. The Jericho, N.Y.-based company makes garage doors; plastic films for personal care products such as diapers; and communication systems for military and municipal use.

Griffon has devoted capital expenditures toward automating its factories and increasing production. Research and development is an important component. In plastics, for example, the company operates a center where 30 scientists and engineers develop new products. On the communications side, Griffon internally funded the development of an airborne maritime-surveillance system.

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