Officials at compounding leader PolyOne Corp. said the firm's first-quarter results are ``a big step forward'' after more than two years of dreary financial reports.
Avon Lake-based PolyOne posted a profit of $4 million as sales grew 9 percent over the year-ago period, to almost $536 million. By comparison, PolyOne lost more than $19 million in the first quarter of 2003. Sales of PVC-based compounds - the firm's largest product segment - grew 11 percent vs. 2003.
``Across the board, our results are improved,'' President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Waltermire said in an April 29 conference call. ``We're encouraged by the results, but we're not satisfied. It's like winning the first round of the playoffs.''
PolyOne counts profit from three discontinued businesses - specialty resins, engineered films and elastomers/performance additives - in its first-quarter total, but does not include their sales. First-quarter profit from those units was $5.6 million, while all other PolyOne units reported a combined loss of $1.6 million, resulting in the firm's $4 million total profit.
Industry consultant Bill Ridenour said PolyOne's first-quarter results are ``promising,'' but he added that the company still has some long-term concerns.
``This buys them some time to deal with customer issues and refocus their production into more high-value-added activities,'' said Ridenour, president of Polymer Transaction Advisors Inc. in Newbury, Ohio.