Also, to the extent that we discuss any non-GAAP financial measures, you will find reconciliations in our press release, which is posted on our website at www.graftech.com in the Investor Relations Section. For your reference, a replay of the call will be available on our website.
At this time, I’d like to turn the call over to Craig.
Thank you, Kelly. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining Graftech’s call today. Today, we’ll take you through our first quarter highlights and then open it up to questions.
In Q1, sales were 241 million, down 21% versus a year ago. As previously guided, Grafite Electrode sales were lower, largely due to customer destocking initiatives, especially in Europe where the steel market has slowed considerably in response to recessionary conditions in the region.
We believe the majority of the destocking initiatives were completed in Q1 and the balance of the destocking will be completed by mid-year.
EBITDA came in at 40 million, in line with our targeted estimate. Net income was 18 million, or $0.12 per share. We had a couple one-time benefits in the quarter. One, higher Q4 electrode utilization rates that allowed for better fixed cost absorption, which flowed through our P&L in Q1 and provided about a $0.03 benefit. And then secondly, a non-reoccurring insurance reimbursement, which provided a $0.02 benefit.
Net debt increased to 466 million, largely the result of planned increase in working capital and CapEx expenditures.
Turning to the segment, Industrial Material sales were 193 million and Operating Income came in at 25 million.
The previously-mentioned benefit resulting from higher Q4 operating rates was also a major driver of gross margin expansion in Q1, which will not be carried forward given our previously-reviewed plans to turn our Grafite Electrodes plants at approximately 70% operating rate for the balance of the year.