Said Rykhus, "We continue to see solid, sustainable growth in the energy and agricultural markets. Deliveries of geomembrane films for environmental protection were particularly strong in the second quarter, stemming from a reservoir project in Ohio. We anticipate that geomembrane films will be a rising part of our market mix for this division, due to the critical need to protect water and other environmental resources.
"Within Engineered Films we're enhancing margins and profitability through improved operating efficiencies and a more aggressive pricing strategy. While plant utilization rates continue to rise according to plan, we do have extrusion capacity to further grow this business—which we intend to do through R&D investments in new growth opportunities as well as enhancements to our existing product line," Rykhus concluded.
Strength Abroad Drives Applied Technology
Sales in the company's Applied Technology Division grew 13 percent to $40.1 million, versus $35.4 million last year—a second-quarter record. Operating income was down 2 percent, to $12.9 million from $13.2 million. The bottom-line decrease was due to relatively higher sales of lower-margin products and higher investment in research, marketing and product development.As previously disclosed, Raven realigned its Electronic Systems Division in the quarter. Approximately 75 percent of Electronic Systems' sales went to Aerostar in the fiscal second quarter and the balance to Applied Technology. All sales and operating income amounts reflect the realignment. Said Rykhus, "International sales remained strong in the second fiscal quarter, particularly in Brazil and Canada, and comprised 27 percent of the division's revenues. As nations evolve their agricultural practices, they're rapidly adopting Raven's advanced guided steering systems that enhance farm yields and reduce operating costs. Domestically, we remain in a strong agricultural market, tempered by the ongoing drought conditions. Sales of guided steering systems, field computers and, in particular, application controls, reflect that strength."