“Our first quarter earnings were in-line with our expectations,” said William A Wulfsohn, Carpenter president and CEO. “The team executed at a high level within the context of generally soft market conditions. Our core markets remained relatively weak as continued supply chain destocking in the aerospace and energy markets reduced demand for our premium and ultra-premium products. At the same time, the commercial team executed well by bringing in more 'value' sales to meet growing demand from the transportation and industrial & consumer markets. Thus our sales, excluding surcharge, declined by 7% but our volume increased by 1%.

“Our strong manufacturing performance contributed significantly to our earnings. The team executed on multiple fronts to reduce production and overhead costs. We achieved these results while successfully performing a significant planned maintenance overhaul on our Reading forge, positioning this critical piece of hot working equipment to support future growth.

“Our second quarter now looks weaker than we initially anticipated at the start of the year," he added. "Even as volumes stabilize, our mix will remain weak. We could see a similar change in earnings from Q1 to Q2 as we saw last year. The timing and duration of seasonal customer closures can impact, positively or negatively, shipments near the end of the calendar year.

“That said, we are just now beginning to see some very early indications that demand is stabilizing. If this continues, we could see a recovery in the second half of the fiscal year. We remain confident that market fundamentals will significantly improve in calendar 2014. This will coincide with the completion of Athens enabling us to target sustained sales growth, margin improvement and strong positive cash flow.”