Zoltek Companies, Inc. Reports Strong Financial Results for its Fourth Quarter - Capping a Year of Record Sales and Earnings

For the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012, ending September 30, Zoltek reported net sales of $44.2 million, compared to $43.1 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2011. Zoltek had operating income of $5.3 million for the latest quarter and net income of $4.2 million, or $0.13 per share. In the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year, Zoltek reported operating income of $1.0 million and net income of $4.6 million, or $0.14 per share, which included a foreign currency gain of $3.5 million. For the year as a whole, Zoltek's net sales increased 22.8% - to $186.3 million in fiscal 2012 from $151.7 million in fiscal 2011. In fiscal 2012, Zoltek's operating income was $25.6 million and net income was $22.9 million, or $0.67 per share, which compare to an operating loss of $4.7 million and a net loss of $3.6 million, or $0.10 per share, in fiscal 2011.

"We are pleased to report another quarter of strong financial results and, even more, our best-ever annual results with highest revenue and four solidly profitable quarters," Zsolt Rumy, Zoltek's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer said. Rumy also said that the company made "tremendous progress" in three principal areas of the business in fiscal 2012.

"Firstly, we achieved big gains in operating efficiency as we continued to aggressively drive down costs and increase the output of our existing facilities, including strong improvements in the efficiency of our carbon fibre lines in Hungary and Mexico. Secondly, we made significant capital investments, aggregating $22.4 million in fiscal 2012. These included substantial additions in our capacity to produce composite intermediates, including prepregs, fabrics, and pultruded parts, designed to accelerate development of new applications and bring us closer to end users of low-cost, high-performance carbon fibre composites. Thirdly, we continued to expand globally picking up new sales and making strides with potential customers in Europe, North and South Americas and Asia." Rumy noted that it has taken the company four years to surpass its previous peak in sales, which occurred in fiscal 2008, just prior to the full impact of the worldwide financial crisis and recession, which caused sales to decline over the next two years to $128.5 million in fiscal 2010.

However, Rumy said there is "no real comparison" between the Zoltek of today and the Zoltek of four years ago. "Zoltek of today is a vastly more capable and efficient company," Rumy said. "Even though our selling prices have significantly decreased in recent years, our net income in fiscal 2012 was over three times that of fiscal 2008. We believe that the commercial carbon fibers market is still in a relatively early stage of development. Consequently, we do not expect our growth will be linear with steady and predictable increases. That said, barring unforeseen negative events in the global economy, we anticipate another strong year in fiscal 2013. While there may be reduced activity in the U.S. wind energy sector as a result of uncertainty over the continuation of governmental subsidies, we feel confident that the global wind turbine business in Asia, Latin America, and other parts of the world will continue to grow - with increasing demand for the biggest and most advanced turbines enabled by Zoltek carbon fibers. The off-shore wind energy market remains especially vibrant."

"We also remain confident in the validity of our vision for leading the commercialization of carbon fibers and Zoltek's potential for long-term growth in shareholder value over time," Rumy added. "During 2012, we entered into an exclusive global collaborative partnership with Magna Exteriors and Interiors, an operating unit of Magna International Inc., to speed development of low-cost carbon fibre sheet moulding compounds (SMC) for the automotive industry. We also have seen growing interest on the part of major automotive companies in compressed natural gas (CNG) tanks made from carbon fibre - both for fleets of buses and trucks and for mass-produced passenger cars, where carbon fibre is the only material that can be used to produce the CNG tanks light enough to do the job of providing the needed pressure (3,000 psi operating and 7,000 psi design pressure) without adding excessive weight." Said Rumy, "We believe that low-cost carbon fibre is destined to become the great enabler in the field of energy, allowing the world to move from a shortage to an abundance of clean and affordable energy. We have already seen the beginning of that in wind energy - where Zoltek carbon fibres are used in making the super-long, super-stiff blades that power the biggest and most efficient wind turbines. For example, one of our Chinese customers just recently installed a 6 MW off-shore turbine with 66.5 meter blades reinforced with our carbon fibers. Carbon fiber may also be used in unlocking whole new sources of oil and gas in ultra-deep water. Also, the day is rapidly approaching when we are likely to see new lightweight vehicles on the road that will be far more energy efficient and generate far less emissions than the vehicles of today."

Publication date: 04/12/2012

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