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Polymer Group Margins Up, Plans to Trim Debt

Stock Sale Ahead to Cut Balance

Joan Gunin -- Home Textiles Today, November 12, 2007

Charlotte, N.C. —Nonwoven engineered material producer Polymer Group (PGI) said operating profitability improved at both its Mooresville, N.C., and Suzhou, China plants during the third quarter, as it nevertheless reported a net loss of $20.9 million, compared to a net loss of $1.5 million for the same period one year ago.

The good news was that sales, margins and gross profit rose, even in the face of rising raw material costs.

Sales of $256.2 million were up 3.1% from $248.6 million last year, while gross profit climbed 12.9% to $39.7 million, the company said. Gross margins rose to 15.5% of sales from 14.1%, a gain of 140 basis points.

PGI ceo Veronica Hagen, said, “Given the third quarter is seasonally the company's weakest period, coupled with the impact of rising raw material costs during the quarter, I am pleased with our overall results and year-over-year growth.”

To pay down debt, PGI and a key shareholder will sell more than 5 million shares of common stock. PGI plans to sell 3.6 million shares and investor group MatlinPatterson will sell 1.8 million shares, each of Class A common stock. Proceeds will go directly to repay debt under PGI's existing senior secured credit facility. The company expects the Class A Common Stock to list on the NYSE under the ticker symbol PGO.

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