Rogers, Connecticut - Rogers Corp. achieved record sales of $29.3 million in its high-performance foams business, about 12.7 percent higher than sales for the first quarter of 2007, the group announced 1 May.
In polyurethane foam, Rogers saw higher sales of "SoftSeal", a new PU foam product that provides low compression-force resistance without taking a compression set. This is used in gasketing applications, especially in cell phones, the group commented. Another strong product line was polyurethane foam materials used in the CMP (Chemical Mechanical Planarisation) process, sold into the semiconductor market, Rogers added.
Rogers also commented that a new polyurethane foam manufacturing line in Suzhou, China, "is doing well, and is now ramping up to include a second shift starting late next quarter."
The results in high-performance foam were boosted, according to the group, by strong sales of silicone foams in consumer electronics, IGBT's (Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors) for hybrid cars, and aircraft.
Rogers' 50-percent owned joint ventures had quarterly sales totaling $26.2 million, an increase of 18.6 percent over sales in Q1 2007. Its PU foam joint ventures with INOAC Corp. in China and Japan "helped drive sales for the period," said the group.
But Rogers said that RCCT, its flexible circuit material joint venture in Taiwan, "continues to decline," attributing this to commoditisation of flexible circuit material products in the portable communications market.
In its printed circuit materials business, sales of $33.0 million for Q1 were 15.5 percent lower than in Q1 2007, while in custom electrical components, sales were $28.0 million ($39.3 million for Q1 2007) as a result of declining demand and thus revenues for electroluminescent lamps (EL) for keypad backlighting
Rogers as a whole had Q1 2008 revenues of $102.3 million (Q1 2007 $115.1 million), exceeding its 20 Feb 2008 guidance of $98-$100 million in sales.
"Durel and our flexible circuit material businesses declined as expected, while the rest of the company grew, as did our gross margins during the first quarter," commented Robert Wachob, Rogers' president and ceo, in the statement.
Wachob added that Rogers' "significant exposure to international markets has proved beneficial," since overall the business performed well despite slowing demand in the US.
Referring to plans for tight cost control and maximising cash generation, Wachob said, "Although we do not expect to be able to replace the $50-$60 million in lost Durel and flexible circuit material revenues this year, we anticipate that over the next several years our new product pipeline will yield significant additional revenues." LW