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Polymer Group gross profit up 8.5% for Q3

06
Nov '08
Polymer Group Inc reported results from operations for the third quarter and nine-month periods ended September 27, 2008. PGI reported record sales for the third quarter of $301.0 million, up 17.5% over the prior year. The top line growth was driven predominantly by higher selling prices in response to higher raw material costs, but also included positive contributions from an improved mix in many market segments and higher overall volumes in the Nonwovens business of $12.6 million.

Volume growth was achieved in Latin America, predominantly in Argentina, where the company added capacity at the end of last year, and in Asia where steady increases in high grade medical fabric production have resulted in higher volumes and an improved profit mix. Additionally, the company's proprietary Spinlace(R) product volumes were contributing at full capacity during the quarter. Sales in the Oriented Polymers business were negatively impacted by lower volumes; however, positive contributions from improved product mix and higher selling prices resulted in year-over-year sales growth.

While gross profit of $43.0 million for the third quarter was $3.3 million higher than the third quarter of 2007, profitability was negatively impacted during the quarter by the large run up in raw material unit costs in July, specifically in polypropylene, on the heels of cost increases already experienced late in the second quarter.

These cost increases were greater than the increase in selling prices that the company was able to achieve during the same period. The impact of higher raw material costs was partially offset by improved price/mix of sales and lower depreciation charges, resulting from fiscal 2007 impairments, during fiscal 2008. The raw material component of the cost of goods sold as a percentage of net sales increased from 53.3% in 2007 to 56.8% in 2008.

Operating income for the third quarter of 2008 was $9.0 million compared to a loss of $7.2 million in the third quarter of 2007 and operating income of $14.0 million in the second quarter of 2008. Included in operating income were special charges of $1.7 million in the third quarter of 2008 primarily related to exit costs associated with our previously announced plant closures and consolidations in the US and Europe. Special charges amounted to $20.4 million in the third quarter of 2007 and $1.8 million in the second quarter of 2008.

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were lower than the previous quarter by $0.7 million, due primarily to the absence of certain separation costs recognized in the second quarter. However, total SG&A was higher than the prior year by $3.9 million, with $1.1 million of this increase due to strengthening foreign currencies and an additional $1.0 million dollars resulting from higher export and distribution expenses associated with new volumes in Argentina.

PGI reported net income for the third quarter of $3.4 millioncompared to $2.4 million in the second quarter and a loss of $20.9 million in the third quarter of 2007.


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