Plastics materials firms GE Plastics and A. Schulman Inc. recently posted financial results they'd probably rather forget.
In the first quarter of 2007, Pittsfield, Mass.-based GE Plastics saw its profit tumble 46 percent to $121 million, when compared with the same quarter a year ago. Quarterly sales dropped almost 3 percent to just under $1.6 billion.
The disappointing results came amid a record first-quarter profit of $4.5 billion for the unit's parent firm, General Electric Co. of Fairfield, Conn. GE is shopping the plastics unit - a major producer and compounder of polycarbonate and other specialty resins - to potential buyers because of declining profitability. Plastics represented 4 percent of GE's first-quarter sales total and less than 3 percent of quarterly profit.
At Fairlawn, Ohio-based Schulman, profit for its second quarter - which ended Feb. 28 - slid almost 60 percent to $1.6 million. The drop occurred even as the compounder's quarterly sales climbed 11 percent to almost $413 million.
For the fiscal half year, sales were up almost 12 percent vs. 2006 to $855 million. But first-half profit slumped 75 percent to $4 million.
The firm's North American unit also continued to struggle in the first half, posting a pretax loss of almost $14 million as sales fell almost 5 percent to $230 million. North American sales volume in pounds also slid about 2 percent.
``The overall weakness in our markets has lasted longer than we originally expected,'' said Terry Haines, Schulman chairman, president and chief executive officer, in a news release. ``All the North American markets, especially automotive, have remained slow ... and we have taken significant steps to reduce costs and return our North American operations to profitability.''