Wilbur Ross’ International Textile Group, owner of Cone Denim and Burlington WorldWide, reported profit and sales increased in 2015 despite a challenging market.

ITG, in its annual report and 10K filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, said gross profit rose 23 percent to $87.6 million in 2015, compared to earnings of $71.4 million a year earlier.

Consolidated net sales increased 0.3 percent to $610.4 million in 2015 from $595.4 million in 2014.

ITG said gross profit margins increased primarily thanks to lower raw material and energy costs, higher sales in its denim fabric and municipal government wool fabric businesses, lower manufacturing costs due to higher production, higher selling prices and an improved product mix in the synthetic fabrics, technical fabrics and U.S. government wool uniform businesses.

Such improvements were partially offset by lower selling prices and a less favorable product mix, primarily in the denim and municipal government wool uniform businesses, higher labor costs, and lower volumes in segments such as the U.S. government wool uniform fabric, and synthetic and technical fabric.

The company said sales gains resulted from increased demand for denim, a core of the Cone business, and new programs in the worsted wool uniform fabrics business at Burlington as well as an improved product mix and higher selling prices in the technical fabrics and synthetic fabrics businesses.

These results were partially offset by such factors as lower demand in the synthetic fabrics business, decreased sales resulting from U.S. governmental budget constraints and program changes affecting certain military uniform businesses.

Operating income in 2015 rose 66 percent to $42.9 million, compared to $25.8 million in 2014.

Net sales in the bottom-weight woven fabrics segment rose slightly to $568.2 million last year from $563.2 million in 2014. The increase was attributed to higher sales of $29.7 million for denim and new programs in the wool uniform business, as well as $13.2 million resulting from higher selling prices and an improved product mix in the technical and synthetic fabrics businesses.

Income in the bottom-weight woven fabrics segment increased 42 percent to $49 million in 2015, compared to $34.4 million in 2014. ITG said the increase in income came from lower raw material and energy costs of $33.3 million; higher sales in the company’s municipal government wool fabric and denim fabric businesses of $4.6 million; $1.6 million in lower manufacturing costs due to increased production; higher selling prices, and an improved product mix of $8.1 million in the synthetic fabrics, technical fabrics and U.S. government wool uniform businesses, as well as favorable impacts from changes in foreign currency exchange rates of $6.2 million.

ITG, headquartered in Greensboro, N.C., has operations in the U.S., Mexico and China. ITG said its strategy is to be “the preeminent global supplier of solution-based, value-added performance products and services for the textile supply chain.” At year’s end, ITG employed about 4,750 people worldwide.

“We believe geographically aligning with our customers is a critical component of our success,” ITG said in its filing.

ITG was founded by Ross in 2004. He stepped down as chairman in November 2014, but his company, WL Ross & Co., still performs advisory services and holds 83.6 percent of ITG shares, according to the SEC filing.

Through its Cone Denim business unit, the company manufactures and markets a variety of denim apparel fabrics for the global jeanswear market. Denims are generally “yarn-dyed,” which means that the yarn is dyed before the fabric is woven. The result is a fabric with variations in color that give denim its distinctive appearance.

Denim fabrics are marketed under the Cone Denim brand name to the premium and vintage jeanswear markets, where styling and innovation are important factors, as well as to the fashion and better basic jeanswear markets, where pricing is more important, the company said.

Worsted and synthetic fabrics are marketed under the Burlington WorldWide and Raeford Uniform brand names. Worsted fabrics include wool and wool blended fabrics primarily targeted at branded men’s apparel customers and the uniform career apparel trade. Worsted fabrics marketed under the Burlington WorldWide brand name are also produced for the military dress uniform business.

Synthetic fabrics include polyester, nylon and polyester blended fabrics with wool, rayon and spandex. These products are targeted for the production of men’s and women’s apparel, performance activewear and uniform career apparel.