Polymer Group, Inc. (PGI) has announced results of operations for the first quarter ended March 29, 2008. Sales continued to increase to record levels with first quarter sales growing 2.5% to $274 million compared to the first quarter of 2007 and 3.1% compared to $265 million in the fourth quarter of 2007. Sales growth was primarily driven by the impact of price increases implemented to address higher raw material costs during the period and favorable foreign currency translation rates as most currencies strengthened against the U.S. dollar.
Net income for the quarter was $1.4 million compared to $0.3 million for the same period the prior year. Operating income for the first quarter of 2008 was $12.1 million, compared to an operating loss of $17.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2007 and operating income of $11.7 million in the first quarter of the prior year.
Underlying Nonwovens volume increases from the company’s new medical business in Suzhou, China, improved industrial sales in North American markets and higher volumes in the hygiene markets in Latin America were offset by the effect of businesses that the company strategically exited during 2007 in the U.S. and in Europe. PGI’s new spunbond line in Argentina began commercial production during the quarter as well.
PGI’s chief executive officer, Ronee Hagen, stated, “While our results for the first quarter were in line with our expectations and prior indications, I am very pleased with our success in improving cash flow and reducing our debt levels. More importantly, we made progress implementing initiatives that will drive profit improvement throughout the year and into 2009. We expect this improvement to begin in the second quarter and continue into the second half of the year.