Polymer Group Inc.’s 2007 sales increased 3.7% to $1.06 billion, the highest in the company’s history, driven by growth in the nonwovens segment. Gross profit increased 8.1% to $168.9 million. Nonwovens sales were $885.7 million for the year. The largest contributor to new volume growth was the ramp-up of the Suzhou, China operation followed by year-over-year increases in the Latin American region from assets installed in 2006 and new product introductions in the U.S. region. Profit growth was attributed to product mix improvements within nonwovens as well as manufacturing cost improvement initiatives.
Fourth quarter sales were essentially flat at $265.4 million while profits of $38.9 million were $2.6 million lower than the prior year period due primarily to the severe and rapid increases in raw material costs experienced during the last three months of 2007.
“PGI made strong progress implementing our key initiatives in 2007 leading to top-line growth and improved margins despite market headwinds in certain industrial sectors,” said PGI’s chief executive officer, Ronee Hagen.
“Our strong performance trajectory was diminished in the fourth quarter by significant and rapid raw material cost increases. Despite this impact, we have plans in place that we believe will enable us to continue the trend of top line growth, margin improvement and increases in cash generation in 2008,” Ms. Hagen said.