Technical Products net sales of $130.2 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 increased 3% compared with prior year sales of $127 million. Revenues increased as a higher value mix and increased selling prices more than offset unfavorable currency effects and flat volumes. The favorable sales mix reflected a higher proportion of sales of specialty grades, including image transfer, security and certain transportation filtration grades, that helped offset lower volumes in backings and other industrial grades.
"Fourth quarter results were challenged by the largest quarterly input cost increase of the year and lower seasonal demand that was compounded by growing global economic uncertainty. As a result, our teams continue to combine significant pricing initiatives and aggressive cost management to restore margins," says John O'Donnell, chief executive officer. "In 2019, we will benefit from these actions, as well as from our recent footprint rationalization in Fine Paper, continued filtration expansion in the U.S. and planned growth in targeted niche markets. Our commitment towards executing on proven capital deployment priorities in ways that add value for our shareholders remains unwavering, and we'll do this while maintaining our strong balance sheet."
Full year consolidated net sales of $1.03 billion in 2018 were 6% higher than the prior year. The increase resulted from higher Technical Products volumes (including volumes from the November 2017 Coldenhove Acquisition), increased selling prices in both segments, and a higher value mix and favorable currency effects in Technical Products. These items more than offset lower Fine Paper and Packaging volumes.