Let me begin with a quick snapshot of our third quarter performance, the highlights of which are summarized on Slide No. 3. I’m pleased to report that consolidated sales were quite strong, coming in at just over $271 million versus 258.9 million for the third quarter of 2009, an increase of 4.8% at actual rates or 8.7% excluding the effects of currency.
The strong increase in sales is particularly noteworthy due to the fact that in the third quarter of 2009, H1N1 vaccine sales were $9.7 million which did not recur in 2010, and we also benefitted from a more favorable euro-dollar exchange rate. In effect, we had to grow other sales at a 12% rate to overcome these two issues and achieve the 5% reported gain.
Our consolidated gross margin showed a slight decline of 0.2 percentage points to 27.5%, which is not unusual given the seasonal impact of planned shutdowns and the costs that we incur for preventative maintenance and the restart of production. Adjusted operating profit grew 7.7% and adjusted diluted earnings per share grew just over 2% to $0.46 per share. Excluding currency effects, adjusted diluted earnings per share were up just under 9%.