TEFRON LOSSES MOUNT IN QUARTER

NEW YORK — Tefron Ltd.’s fourth-quarter loss of $9.5 million, or 76 cents a diluted share, met previously revised expectations, but set a tone for leaner times ahead for the Bnei-Brak, Israel-based manufacturer.
Year-ago profits were $3.1 million, or 25 cents. The year-ago quarter did not include results from Alba-Waldensian, which was acquired at the end of the 1999 fourth quarter.
Revenues for the period ended Dec. 31 jumped 20.7 percent, to $49.2 million, against $40.8 million a year ago.
As reported, the firm in a March 5 profit warning said results would be pulled down by “disappointing” U.S. retail sales, which caused a lower backlog, price pressure and decreased orders.
Sigi Rabinowicz, chairman, added in a statement: “The problem was magnified by some main customers’ efforts to adjust high inventory levels to the present market situation.” Management has taken steps to reduce costs and pump up revenues, while focusing on production efficiencies and costs in order “to challenge the ever-increasing competitive environments,” noted the chairman.
For the year, Tefron posted losses of $4.5 million, or 36 cents a diluted share. The year-ago period saw profits of $8 million, or 64 cents.
Revenues leaped 73.6 percent, to $223.6 million, from $128.8 million in 1999. Excluding sales from the Alba-Waldensian business, Tefron’s sales increased 17 percent, to $150.7 million.
Rabinowicz said the marketer of seamless intimate apparel is also “assessing other market niche opportunities that could present additional growth opportunities for the company both in the U.S. and Europe.”
For the first quarter, the firm said its loss per share will be in the 38- to 42-cent range, while sales will be slightly above $40 million.