Armor Holdings Reaffirms Confidence in Safety of its Body Armor Products
Ceases Production of Zylon®-Containing Vests Due to Change in NIJ Standards
Implements Voluntary Zylon® Vest Exchange Program for Customers
Preliminarily Estimates a $19.4 Million Charge to Third Quarter 2005 Earnings
Jacksonville, Fla. - Armor Holdings, Inc., a leading manufacturer of security products and vehicle armor systems serving military, law-enforcement, homeland security and commercial markets, announced today that although it remains fully confident in the safety and performance capabilities of its body armor products, including those that contain Zylon®, it is ceasing production of all Zylon®- containing models due to the National Institute of Justice’s (NIJ) decision to suspend its previously issued certifications of all Zylon®-containing vests in the marketplace. The Company also announced that because de-certification will result in some customers having non NIJ-compliant body armor, it will implement a voluntary Zylon® Vest Exchange Program to assist relevant police officers and law enforcement agencies in obtaining new, NIJ-compliant body armor.
On August 24, the NIJ issued its Third Status Report to the Attorney General on Body Armor Safety Initiative Testing and Activities, which included the results of recent tests conducted by the NIJ on used Zylon®-containing body armor. The report indicated that the NIJ is immediately suspending previously awarded certifications of all Zylon®-containing models of body armor. The NIJ also encouraged all law enforcement officers to continue wearing their Zylon®-containing vest until they have the opportunity to obtain a replacement.
“Armor Holdings is singularly committed to the cause of officer safety,” said Scott O’Brien, President of Armor Holdings Products Division, “and we believe, based on our extensive testing and research, that our vests are safe and fit for use by officers in the field. These products have been previously approved and certified by the NIJ, and validated through our own used vest testing program. However, now that the NIJ has announced its intentions to de-certify Zylon®-containing vests, we have decided to discontinue the use of Zylon® and assist our customers, consisting of police officers and law enforcement agencies who now find themselves wearing body armor that is not compliant with NIJ standards.”
In many cases, non compliant body armor may result in those departments being in violation of their own policies and specifications and possibly even those of their insurance carriers. Therefore, Armor Holdings has voluntarily initiated a Zylon® Vest Exchange Program to assist its installed customer base with the transition to non-Zylon® products. Information about the program, which will include the option of a prorated cash payment based on the age of the vest in question, or a voucher based on the selling price of the vest, can be found at www.bodyarmor.com/zylon.
“This is simply the right thing to do,” stated Mr. O’Brien, “and we are proud that Armor Holdings is in a position to assist the law enforcement community during this difficult transition. This is NOT a recall program, but a voluntary, organized and responsible response to assist thousands of our loyal customers. We believe that our large suppliers will partner with us to support law enforcement and believe that Congress should provide additional funding as well.”
In response to concerns about how body armor performs over time, Armor Holdings has conducted the most extensive used vest testing program in the country. The testing program, which has included more than 600 used vests, employed the NIJ’s existing protocol for used vest testing and has been done in partnership with law enforcement agencies, by allowing them to participate in and witness the tests. The Company has previously shared all of its testing results with the NIJ.
Mr. O’Brien concluded, “Although we remain fully confident in the quality of our body armor products, we recognize the important role of the NIJ in establishing industry wide standards. We look forward to working in partnership with the NIJ to ensure that our law enforcement customers have complete confidence in the safety of their body armor. What is most important is that officers continue to wear their existing vests, even if they contain Zylon®, until they are able to replace their vest with an NIJ-certified model.”
The Company will record a charge to third quarter earnings to account for the cost of the Zylon® Vest Exchange Program. The amount of the third quarter charge has not yet been finalized, but is not expected to exceed $19.4 million or $0.33 per share.
About Armor Holdings, Inc.
Armor Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:AH) is a diversified manufacturer of branded products for the military, law enforcement, and personnel safety markets. Additional information can be found at www.armorholdings.com.