PARIS — French textile giant Chargeurs reported net profits in the first half rose 172.2 percent as sales gained 3.6 percent.
Net income for the six months was $24.7 million (147 million francs), and sales were $784.1 million (4.675 billion francs).
A year earlier, the firm reported net income of 54 million francs on sales of 4.51 billion francs.
Operating income for the half rose 56 percent to $55.2 million (329 million francs).
Operating income for the Chargeurs wool-processing division jumped to $14.6 million (87 million francs) from 12 million francs for the period. Sales for this business were up 4.6 percent to $372.3 million (2.22 billion francs).
The company attributed these increases to its improved management of fluctuations in wool prices.
Another factor that contributed to growth in operating income was more efficient use of processing capacity, the company said.
The Chargeurs fabrics division had a sales decrease of 7 percent to $176.9 million (1.055 billion francs) for the first half. This drop was due to the company’s sale of its automobile fabrics business earlier this year.
Sales of apparel fabrics, however, rose 3 percent, although no figures were provided. Operating income for fabrics was up 35.5 percent for the half to $17.3 million (103 million francs), the company said.
The Chargeurs interlining division enjoyed a 28.1 percent jump in its operating income to $19.1 million (114 million francs) while sales grew 11.1 percent to $180.6 million (1.08 billion francs). Profits here were up, thanks to strong demand and favorable exchange rates, the company said.
Sales were up 12.9 percent to $54.2 million (323 million francs) at the protective films division, while operating income was off 2.4 percent at $6.9 million (41 million francs).
Other activities, which were undefined by the company, had operating losses of $2.7 million (16 million francs) for the half, compared with a loss of 8 million francs in the first half of 1996.
Throughout this year, Chargeurs continued to divest noncore businesses. The Portuguese and Benelux subsidiaries of the Walon auto transport and service company were sold, and Walon France is up for sale.
Also, last June, the company sold its stake in the Costa Croisiere cruise line company for $25.2 million (150 million francs).
The company said its performance in the second half should be on par with the first half’s, based on the current order books for Chargeurs divisions.