On a sequential quarter basis, net sales for the latest quarter increased $1.5 million (4%) from the second quarter of fiscal year 2011.

For the first nine months of fiscal year 2011, Zoltek saw net sales of $108.6 million, a gain of 11.5% over net sales reported for the first nine months of fiscal year 2010.

In the third quarter of fiscal year 2011, Zoltek reported an operating loss of $1.2 million and a net loss of $1.5 million, compared to an operating loss of $0.9 million and a $0.4 million net loss in the third quarter of fiscal year 2010. Zoltek reported an operating loss of $5.7 million and a net loss of $8.1 million for the first nine months of fiscal year 2011, which compared to an operating loss of $8.7 million and a net loss of $5.9 million in the corresponding period of fiscal 2010.

Strengthening carbon fibre markets

"Over the first three quarters of our fiscal year 2011, we have seen continued strengthening in carbon fibre markets around the world and we expect our underlying sales growth trends to accelerate in fiscal 2012 and beyond," states Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek Chairman and CEO. "We don't believe that the decrease in sales in the recent quarter compared with the third quarter of fiscal 2010, reflects negative fundamentals. Rather sales in the prior year quarter resulted from the large customer delivery requirements that fluctuated greatly during interim periods of fiscal 2010."

"During the third quarter we increased our inventories and started-up the precursor and carbon fibre lines at our Mexican facility to ensure that we will be able to support anticipated increases in demand," he continues. "The start-up costs negatively impacted our financial performance, but based upon our outlook for sales growth and significantly higher utilisation of our capacity, we are expecting improvement in our operating results. In addition, we are encouraged by positive results we have achieved working with existing and potential customers on product and process development and qualifications."

Global plans

"In the past two years," Rumy notes, "Zoltek has executed on our plans to become a truly global company - targeting customers in Asia and South America, as well as the United States and Europe. At the same time, we have become a better and more capable company – financially, technically and operationally."

He says the company has also expanded its value-added products and services to make it easier for customers to work with its carbon fibres.

"For example, in advanced wind energy applications we now offer turbine blade design, prepregs and infusible fabrics, along with proprietary application equipment that significantly improves production speed and quality," Rumy reports. "We believe our product and technology offerings put Zoltek in a leadership position when it comes to supporting the fast-growing large wind turbine market."