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Dan River 4Q takes a tumble

DANVILLE, Va. — Dan River Inc. recorded a fourth-quarter deficit of $32.8 million, swinging to a loss from a year-before profit of $4.2 million — the result of sharply falling sales, the cost of shutting down plants, laying off workers, and vanishing margins.

Sales at the diversified textiles supplier, which last month filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection from its creditors, tumbled 28.2 percent, to $110 million from $153.2 million the year before, a daunting shortfall of $43.2 million.

Hard hit was the company's core home fashions business, where sales fell 28.7 percent, to $79.9 million from $112.1 million last year. Operating profits in the big home business swung to a loss of $9.3 million from a year-before profit of $12.5 million.

Sales of apparel fabrics dropped 29.4 percent, to $22.1 million from $31.3 million and sales in the engineered products unit declined 18.1 percent, to $8 million from $9.8 million. Both divisions reported a loss.

Average gross margin measured just 0.4 percent, compared with 19.5 percent the preceding year when the company's plants were running fuller.

For all of 2003, Dan River recorded a loss of $153 million, compared with a smaller year-ago loss of $13.3 million. In addition to $28 million in plant closing and termination costs, the company recorded a one-time charge of $91.7 million for the impairment of goodwill. Sales for all of last year fell 22.1 percent, to $477.4 million from $612.9 million, a drop of more than $135 million.

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