PHOENIX (Oct. 20)—EaglePicher Holdings Inc.'s net sales for the third quarter decreased slightly from the year-earlier period to $165.8 million. Its year-to-date sales, however, increased 1 percent to $504.9 million. The manufacturer's net loss for the quarter widened to $4.2 million vs. a loss of $3.6 million during the same period of 2002. For the first nine months of this year, EaglePicher posted total earnings of $4.6 million compared to a loss of $31.7 million last year during the same time frame. The company attributed its third-quarter drop in sales of 9 percent partially to sales decreases of 9.3 percent in its Hillsdale business, because of the loss of three programs that are phasing out in 2003 and an approximate 4-percent decline in North American vehicle production during the quarter and first nine months. Its Wolverine coatings unit, however, posted a 14.2-percent increase in sales, helping to mitigate the effects of lost business.