Momentive halved net loss in third quarter

Momentive Performance Materials almost cut its net loss in half during the third quarter, which ende
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Momentive Performance Materials almost cut its net loss in half during the third quarter, which ended just days before the silicon-based product manufacturer announced the elimination of nearly 50 local jobs.

The Waterford company posted today a net loss of $34.9 million for the three-month period ending Sept. 28, compared to a net loss of $74.5 million a year earlier. The earnings drop came despite a 12 percent increase in total sales over that period to $699.9 million.

In early October, Momentive announced plans to cut 49 jobs and outsource some warehouse and plant services. A third-party contractor will conduct those services at the Waterford facility.

The outsourcing move is just one cost savings initiative Momentive has undertaken this year. For the first nine months, the company posted $13.3 million in cost savings initiatives, compared to $1.9 million for the same period of 2007. For the third quarter alone, cost savings initiatives totaled $800,000, compared to zero a year ago.

Momentive President and Chief Executive Officer Jonathan Rich attributed the quarter’s sales gains to pricing actions taken earlier this year and favorable impacts from foreign exchange rates. He said the company’s profit margin improved as “we were able to offset a greater percentage of cost inflation than last quarter” and “we continue to focus on cost saving measures.”

For the first nine months, Momentive’s net loss narrowed to $129.9 million from $176.4 million for the same period of 2007. October’s announced cuts will reduce Momentive’s work force in Waterford to about 950. The company emerged out of the 2006 sale of GE Advanced Materials to Apollo Management.

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