By Patrick Raleigh, UT On-line/news editorRogers, Connecticut-Rogers Corp.'s High Performance Foam division has a posted a 28-percent increase in first quarter sales to a "record" $22.1 million for the quarter. The figure, it said, reflected all-time high quarterly sales for both the Poron polyurethane- and Bisco silicone-based foam product ranges. The higher revenues "resulted from increasing industrial, consumer and automotive applications, helped further by an improved economy in the US, as well as continued growth in Asia," explained a 21 April Rogers statement. The US group did not issue earnings figures for the foam product unit, but reported an overall group margin of 34 percent-up from 31 percent in the prior year first quarter. Foam products represent around 23 percent of Rogers' sales overall.Rogers Inoac Corp. (RIC)-the group's Nagoya, Japan-based 50:50 joint venture with Inoac Corp. of Nagoya-also reported strong sales gains. The improvement, said Rogers, was driven by new business and improved market penetration for its urethane foam products.Much of Rogers' gains are in Asia, where the company has appointed Michael Cooper, as vice president, Asia. He is currently the company's vice president and chief information officer. Cooper will be head up Rogers' manufacturing site in Suzhou, China, which is being expanded to house a new RIC Poron operation, and Roger's nitrile rubber floats operation, which is being moved from the US. The floats serve as level sensors in automotive fuel tanks and as overfill protection in gas barbeque liquid propane tanks. Rogers expects to build on its progress to date, with president and CEO Robert Wachob, predicting an approximate year-on-year doubling of group sales and earnings for the second quarter. "We remain agile and on track to take advantage of the emerging opportunities both geographically and in our top growth markets, namely wireless infrastructure, cellular handsets, satellite television, computers, and transportation," Wachob commented in a group statement. "