Albany International Corp.’s growing pains — in the midst of an economic slowdown — led the paper machine clothing manufacturer to report Sunday a net loss of $1.5 million for the first quarter.
Despite a 9 percent net sales increase to $273.2 million year over year, Albany International found its balance sheet hurting. During the quarter, it spent $13.5 million in restructuring charges, idle capacity and performance-improvement initiatives.
Other pain came from paper mills attempting to extend the running life of paper machine clothing longer than usual, partly resulting in a 12.9 percent North American sales decline. Total paper machine clothing sales were up 2.5 percent to $183 million, but it was down 4.2 percent excluding currency rate change effects.
Menands-based Albany International primarily makes paper machine fabrics and process belts used to make paper and cardboard. By noon, Albany International’s stock was down 2.98 percent, or $1.10, at $35.78 per share.
With consumers curtailing spending, Albany International’s PrimaLoft arm was hit hard. That division makes insulation for outdoor clothing, gloves, footwear and home furnishings. PrimaLoft sales declined 40.2 percent to 5.9 million, compared to a year earlier.
“The economic slowdown in North America, coupled with the possibility of a European slowdown later in the year, adds an element of uncertainty to our short-term outlook. Orders are strong across all of our businesses,” Albany International President and Chief Executive Officer Joseph Morone said.
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