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Jasper-based Kimball Electronics says its net income rose by 4 percent last quarter, even though it incurred some startup expenses for its new production facility in Romania.

For the quarter ening March 31st, net income totaled $7.5 million, up 4 percent from the $7.2 million it earned during the same period last year.

Net quarterly sales totaled $214.1 million, up 4 percent from $206.9 million a year earlier.

The company’s strongest market last quarter — also its largest — was automotive, Sales in that market rose 14 percent, to $85.6 million.

Donald Charron, (SHARON) Kimball Electronics’ chairman and chief executive officer says double-digit sales growth in China, and stronger demand in Europe, helped boost automotive market sales.

Year-over-year sales also rose in the medical market, but they dropped in both the industrial and public safety markets.

The sales growth helped boost income, even though Kimball also had some extra expenses last quarter.

The company completed construction of its Romania facility in November, but the operation is not yet up to full production. Kimball said it incurred $700,000 in incremental startup costs last quarter, which had the effect of reducing net income by $400,000.

Also last quarter, the company repurchased $4.4 million worth of its common stock. The repurchases are part of a $20 million stock repurchase program the company announced in October.

Shares of Kimball Electronics closed at $10.59 Wednesday on the Nasdaq market, essentially unchanged from the previous day.

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