NEW YORK — Lower garment-production efficiencies combined with greater-than-expected air-freight costs forced Novel Denim Holdings Inc. to report preliminary first-quarter results that were well below plan.

For the three months ended June 30, the Hong Kong-based denim and chino maker said it now expects to post a diluted loss per share of 67 to 70 cents. That compares to Novel’s previous guidance of a 22-cent loss, including the costs associated with the closing of its Madagascar operations.

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