KORTRIJK, Belgium (March 27) — Steel-cord producer N.V. Bekaert S.A., which recently acquired U.S. bead wire maker Delta Wire Corp., reported double-digit sales and earnings gains last year on higher selling prices.
In contrast to 2004, when customers built up their inventories because of difficulties in obtaining supplies, the company said it experienced just the opposite in 2005, with customers running down their stocks, translating into a slowdown in customer demand in some markets.
"After an extraordinary year in 2004, which saw unprecedented price rises for wire rod (the raw material for advanced wire products), in 2005 Bekaert continued to experience the significant impact of the volatility of raw materials markets worldwide," the firm said.
Corporate sales, which include all Bekaert´s minority holdings, joint ventures and associates, were up 14 percent to $3.44 billion, while sales of advanced wire products — including the steel cord business — were up 9 percent to $2.05 billion.
Net profits were up 13 percent.
Bekaert paid $10 million earlier this month for Delta Wire of Clarksdale, Miss., which also makes hose, specialty and spring wire at its 24-year-old factory there.