A. Schulman Inc. just wrapped up an extremely challenging fiscal year.
For fiscal 2009, the Fairlawn-based compounder and distributor posted a loss of almost $3 million in the year ended Aug. 31, as sales fell 36 percent to about $1.3 billion.
Schulman had shown a profit of about $18 million in its fiscal 2008.
Company officials pointed out in an Oct. 19 news release that the full-year loss can be chalked up to $19.2 million in charges related to restructuring activities, as well as asset impairments, curtailment gains and employee termination costs. Those charges eclipsed a profit of more than $16 million.
We are encouraged that, despite significantly lower volumes, our strategic efforts to focus on higher-value-added products and reduce operating costs have resulted in strong [fourth-quarter] margin gains, Chairman, President and CEO Joseph Gingo said in the release.
Europe accounted for 73 percent of Schulman's sales in the just-completed fiscal year. Sales in that region were down 36 percent to about $936 million, while sales in North America including masterbatches, engineering plastics and resin distribution were down 38 percent to $296 million.
Schulman's sales in Asia were down 8 percent to about $45 million in fiscal 2009.
For fiscal 2010, we anticipate continuing gradual improvement in our masterbatch operations and a possible return to lower levels in our engineered plastics division until the economy reflects a sustained upswing in durable-goods consumption, Gingo said. As the economy recovers, our enviable cash position and performance-driven processes will help us meet demand and execute our acquisition strategy.
The firm ranks as one of North America's 30 largest compounders, according to a Plastics News industry estimate.
Schulman plans to establish a masterbatch facility in western India, an area the company considers a key growth market.
The company has not yet determined a specific location for the facility, according to an Oct. 26 news release. But officials said the facility will start with one line that will manufacture masterbatch products for the packaging, appliance and consumer products markets.
The plant's capacity is projected to be about 12 million pounds per year, and production will begin within the next 12 months. The new factory will be Schulman's third in Asia.
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