Polymer Group Inc. announced sales results for the first quarter ended April 3, 2010. Net sales for the first quarter of 2010 were $280.6 million compared with $210 million for the first quarter of 2009. The increase was due primarily to additional volume in the company’s nonwovens segment from the acquisition of the Spanish business and increased sales volumes in Latin America and Asia, partially offset by a decline in the U.S. from consolidation initiatives in the carded business. Oriented Polymers’ volumes improved from the depressed levels experienced a year ago. Net sales also benefitted from a higher sales/mix, due to price increases resulting from the higher raw material costs in the first quarter of 2010 and a larger portion of medical sales in Asia. Foreign currency changes increased sales by approximately $3.5 million as most currencies were stronger against the U.S. dollar during 2010 compared with 2009.
Gross profit improved to $4.6 million from $44.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2009 and decreased from $49.4 million in the prior-year period.
Operating income was $9.2 million, reversing an operating loss of $3.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2009. The company reported operating income of $20 million in the prior-year period.
The company’s December 2009 acquisition of a Spanish nonwovens business contributed significantly to volumes and profitability in the first quarter of 2010. PGI Spain strengthened the company’s position as a global leader in the hygiene market and gave it a new presence in Europe with state-of-the-art technology.
The company initiated the expansion of its new proprietary high barrier spunmelt capacity at its facility in Suzhou, China during the first quarter of 2010 and continued to make progress toward installation of a similar spunmelt line in the U.S. Both capacity expansions are expected to be online in mid-2011.