On a sequential quarter basis, net sales for the latest quarter were down 18.8% from the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.

Zoltek reported net income of $3.0 million in this year’s first quarter, compared to net income of $9.7 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 and $4.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012. The company’s operating income was $3.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, compared to operating income of $8.2 million in the previous year’s first quarter and operating income of $5.3 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.

“Historically our results in the fiscal first quarter, particularly in the month of December, have been volatile and difficult to reliably predict," reports Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek’s Chairman and CEO.

"This past year certain of our wind turbine customers accelerated production during the first three calendar quarters to assure completion of capital projects by December 31, 2012 in order to benefit from the US tax credits scheduled to expire at that time. The pace of their business slowed down during the last quarter as the blade production trails behind the turbine installation by 60 to 90 days. Also, customers in Europe virtually shut down in the second half of December, contributing to the sharp drop in our sales for the quarter as a whole.” 

Energy and automotive markets

“We are well positioned in the wind energy sector, the largest immediate commercial carbon fibre market, as the preeminent supplier of carbon fibre for the world’s biggest and most advanced wind turbines," Rumy reports.

"We believe we are on the cusp of exciting new developments which underscore the role of our low-cost, high-performance carbon fibres in major advances across the energy sector – from breakthroughs in exploration and production to more efficient use of energy."

"As we explained in our fiscal 2012 annual report to shareholders, we expect the automotive applications to be the next major market and our carbon fibres to lead the way in enabling the world’s automakers and their suppliers to take up to 50% of the weight out of cars rolling off assembly lines. We are working with our partners on specific proposals and expect this market to start using significant quantities of carbon fibres in the next two to three years and to continue growing rapidly over the next 10 to 12 years.”