Earnings were $12.8 million, down from $16.7 for the prior year period. These results reflect the continued success of the company's Composite Fibers and Advanced Airlaid Materials businesses, which are described as Glatfelter's global growth engines. The company's Advanced Airlaid business, acquired last year from Concert Industries, grew revenue by 14% to $66 million, driven by the feminine hygiene market. "We are pleased with the continued progress the Advance Airlaid Materials business is making to improve its profitability," says chairman and CEO Dante Parrini. "This was accomplished while also constructing and beginning the start-up of a second proprietary festooning line in Gatineau, Canada."
Operating income in the airlaid business was $4.1 million, marking the third consecutive quarter of higher profitability and a nearly three-fold improvement from results in the same quarter of 2010. Selling increases have outpaced higher input costs and the business's overall performance benefited from previously outlined improvement initiatives including supply chain synergies, waste reduction and higher machine output.
Looking forward, shipping volumes for the Advanced Airlaid Materials business unit in the fourth quarter of 2011 are expected to decline approximately 5% due to normal seasonality. In addition, selling prices and input costs are expected to be largely in-line with the third quarter levels.