As previously announced, the Company has undertaken several initiatives to streamline its operations and rationalize its cost structure. These initiatives contributed approximately $4.5 million of cost improvements in the third quarter of 2012, which is ahead of the previously projected improvement of about $3.0 million for the third quarter.
The shutdown and partial relocation of the Bremen, Germany silicone operations continues as planned. The Company anticipates that this move will result in profitability improvements of approximately $1.4 million annually. The Company recognized approximately $1.4 million of pre-tax charges related to this action in the third quarter of 2012, bringing the total pre-tax charges to date to approximately $2.9 million. This project is on track to be completed by early 2013.
Early in the third quarter of 2012, the Company announced its plan to move the final inspection process stage of Curamik Electronics Solutions’ manufacturing operations from its site in Eschenbach, Germany to Hungary, keeping the final product inspection in close proximity to much of the customer base. The move is expected to enable more cost effective performance of the inspection operations. The Company expects the move to be completed during 2013 and related expenses and charges will be incurred in the second half of 2012 into 2013. The Company is not able to reasonably estimate those charges at this time.
The Company ended the third quarter of 2012 with cash and cash equivalents of $91.1 million. Capital expenditures were approximately $5.7 million for the third quarter of 2012 and are expected to total approximately $30 million for the year.
The Company reported gross margins of 33.0% in the third quarter of 2012 compared to 34.4% in the third quarter of 2011. Gross margins in the third quarter of 2012 were negatively impacted by the lost contribution from the decline in sales volumes and certain costs associated with the shutdown of the Bremen operation, as well as a decline in inventory levels during the period, but were favorably impacted by streamlining benefits of approximately $2.5 million for the quarter. Overall, the Company expects better operating profit leverage on future sales growth due to the lower cost structure now in place as a result of the streamlining initiatives.