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.