Good Times At OC Defense Co.

Thanks to the ongoing U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Ceradyne, Inc.'s profits have skyrocketed.

Late last month, the Costa Mesa-based company reported record first quarter sales of $188 million and a whopping 54 percent increase in net income. Indeed, it's gross profit margin for the period was 41 percent of sales.

Ceradyne, which "develops, manufactures and markets advanced technical ceramic products and components for defense, industrial, automotive/diesel and commercial applications," can credit the Pentagon for its good financial times.

On Jan. 31, the military brass placed a $113 million order for the company's ceramic body armor for soldiers. Workers at Ceradyne plants in Lexington, Kentucky as well as in Costa Mesa and Irvine have until September to supply the armor, according to the contract. Company officials say their product is lighter than steel and more durable than plastic.


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