Net sales for the first two quarters totaled €105.5 million, an
increase of 9% over €97 million in the first half of the previous year. Operating profit was €1.7 million. Prices for raw materials continued to rise during the first half of the year and were above those of the same period in 2006. According to the company, the positive impact of increased volumes in the Wipes and Nonwovens business area could not be fully exploited due to unsatisfactory production.
During the period under review, net sales of the Wipes and Nonwovens business area totaled €67 million, an increase of 12% over the corresponding period in 2006. Sales of Nonwovens increased substantially thanks to strong demand, while internal deliveries were reduced. The Wipes and Nonwovens business segment recorded an operating loss of €-0.1 million versus €-0.8 during the same period a year ago. Net sales of Wet Wipes totaled €33.5 million and were on the level of 2006. Sales volumes increased, while sales prices fell slightly. Suominen expects growth in the European wet wipes market to continue. Deliveries to brand owners increased, while sales to retailers fell short of expectations.
Net sales of Nonwovens increased by 15% to €37 million thanks to increased sales of hydroentangled material. Deliveries to the U.S. market increased, while sales to Europe decreased. Sales of thermally bonded nonwovens remained at the same level as 2006. Sales prices were at the same level as the corresponding year-earlier period. The rising price of viscose raw material at the beginning of the year had an adverse effect on financial performance. Production efficiency suffered in particular due to high wastage and temporary raw material shortages.
For the future, net sales for 2007 are expected to improve compared with those of last year. Operating profit is expected to increase on the previous year and profit for the financial year is expected to be positive. In the Wipes and Nonwovens business area, net sales of Wet Wipes during the second part of the year is expected to rise clearly on the first half, contributing to a visibly better result for the whole segment during the remaining six months.