15 February 2001 17:32 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--Polyester and PET resins manufacturer Wellman reported Thursday a major increase in 2000 operating income to $54.9m (Euro60m) on a 19% boost in sales to $1.12bn, driven by higher PET volume and margins.
Shrewsbury, New Jersey-based Wellman also reported a 96% increase in operating income for the fourth quarter ending 31 December, climbing to $14.5m compared with the year-earlier fourth quarter operating income of $7.4m. Sales for the fourth quarter were up by 6.6% to $277.8m.
The company's 2000 operating income of $54.9m compares with its operating income of $200 000 in 1999.
Earnings/share (eps) for the year improved to 87 cent compared to a 35 cent loss in 1999. For the fourth quarter, eps of 27 cent represented a 145% improvement over the year earlier fourth quarter eps of 11 cent.
The company said its substantially higher earnings for the year "resulted primarily from higher PET [polyethylene terephthalate] resins volume, improved margins in the worldwide resins businesses and continued improved results from the company's European fibres business, which were partially offset by lower profitability in the company's domestic fibres business."
Wellman chairman and chief executive Tom Duff said: "Earnings improved in 2000 primarily as a result of improvements in Wellman's PET resins business, particularly in North America. The domestic fibres business continues to be negatively impacted by low demand, primarily resulting from imports throughout the textile chain, and the impact of a slowing economy."
Looking ahead, Duff said: "We expect the first quarter 2001 to be less profitable than the fourth quarter 2000, primarily as a result of the weakening economy, lower average selling prices in the domestic PET resins business combined with higher costs throughout our businesses, particularly energy costs."
However, Duff added, "We expect business conditions to improve as the year progresses."
Wellman manufactures and markets high-quality polyester products, including Fortrel polyester textile fibres and PermaClear PET. The company is the world's largest PET plastic recycler.
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