Monarch Avalon Inc.Upturns in sales of its...


Monarch Avalon Inc.

Upturns in sales of its war games and envelopes helped push long-troubled Monarch Avalon into the black in the quarter that ended Jan. 31.

The company, which has lost money for the last four years, said that it benefited from increased interest in its "Gulf Strike" game, which featured a picture of Saddam Hussein on its cover, as well as board games that replay battles from the Civil War and World War II.

Jackson Dott, president of Monarch, said that printing jobs and sales of the company's envelopes were key to the turnaround and that he is cautiously optimistic. "We are certainly heading in the right direction," he said.

Essex Corp.

Essex Corp., a diversified systems integration and software engineering company based in Columbia, reported a $29,000 loss for its fourth quarter, which ended Dec. 30.

The company said a slowdown in defense spending sent revenues plunging 36.8 percent from the year-ago quarter.

The company said the primary reason for the revenue drop was its completion of some profitable fixed-price Pentagon contracts 1989, including the production of training equipment for aircraft maintenance for the Navy. Essex also cited decreased revenue from the Trident submarine program.

Harry Letaw, chairman and CEO, said in a statement that Essex's expansion into new markets was slowed last year by the economic downturn and the Persian Gulf crisis. Joe Kurry, treasurer and chief financial officer, said the invasion of Kuwait "diverted the government's attention" and disrupted normal spending patterns.

Federal contracts represent 94 percent of Essex's business, with 64 percent defense-related, Mr. Kurry said.

While earnings for the full year were down by $526,000, or 32 cents a share, Essex said, the company reduced its total debt by $3.6 million and improved its debt-to-equity ratio from 1.96 to 1.35.

Mr. Kurry said that the company was taking a "cautious" view of its expectations for this year. Marketing and development costs connected with its effort to increase the non-government share of its business may be high.

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