After losing money in 2002 and 2001, Husky Injection Molding Systems Ltd. turned a $47.3 million profit in fiscal 2003, the company announced Sept. 25.
Husky's fiscal year ended July 31. The Bolton, Ontario-based maker of injection presses, hot runners, molds and robots lost $14.2 million in 2002 and $7.8 million in 2001. Sales jumped 40 percent, to $815.7 million in 2003, from $580.9 million in 2002.
The positive financial news came despite a year that ``did not bring any noticeable improvement in the overall economic conditions of our industry,'' Husky said. It said global sales of injection presses remained about 30 percent below 2000 levels.
Husky leaders foresee more tough times in calendar-year 2004. Citing current ``widespread softness'' in machinery spending and an uncertain economy, the firm said: ``There are no indications currently that point to a rapid turnaround in global market conditions.'' It expects to lose money in the first quarter of fiscal 2004.
But Husky credited its own turnaround with its persistence to follow a five-year restructuring plan launched in 1997. The strategy was to change Husky, known for its injection presses for molding PET preforms and other thin-wall packaging, into a broader supplier of general-purpose machines, such as the hybrid Hylectric.
Husky officials said they continued to invest in new product development and metalworking equipment even when the market collapsed in 2000. Husky's 2003 capital investments totaled $47.7 million - double the 2002 amount.
Robert Schad, president and chief executive officer, said Husky will continue ``actively confronting'' the changing machinery industry. ``Simply waiting for things to get better will lead us nowhere.''
In fiscal 2004, Husky will concentrate on developing its people, building customer relations and further cost reductions, he said.
Broken down by region, Husky said sales rose 35 percent in North America, mainly because of strong PET demand in bottled water and soft drinks. European sales grew 43 percent, in part because of currency conversion of sales from the euro to the U.S. dollar.
Sales jumped 74 percent to Asia Pacific, largely because of PET's strength in China and Southeast Asia, combined with a stronger PET backlog in Japan.