Liberty Corner, N.J. - Air conditioners and air treatment products maker Fedders recorded a 2.8 percent increase in sales during its fiscal first quarter, hitting $39.2 million, up from $38.1 million in the year-ago period.
Fedders attributed the higher figure to increased sales of air conditioners due to improving market conditions in North America and Asia. First quarter results were negatively affected by reduced sales in the company's Engineered Products segment, down 3.2 percent from the prior year's first quarter, due to continued weak demand in the capital equipment market for commercial and industrial air cleaners.
Faced with decreasing sales of higher margin commercial and industrial air cleaners and the costs associated with new factories startups in Asia, Fedders first quarter gross profit margin dropped 350 basis points, to 20 percent, down from 23.5 percent year-on-year.
However, the company was able to reduce Selling, General and Administrative expenses in the first three months by 240 basis points, to 36.7 percent, down from 39.1 percent year over year.
Fedders operating loss in the three months, ended Nov. 30, reached $6.5 million, up from $6 million in the same quarter in 2001. Net loss hit $7.6 million in the first quarter, compared with a net loss of $7.3 million in the same period last year.