HONG KONG, Aug. 16, 2010 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Highway Holdings Limited (Nasdaq:HIHO) today reported results for its fiscal 2011 first quarter ended June 30, 2010, reflecting the benefits of an improving global economy despite the impact of currency fluctuations on the company's profitability. Net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2011 climbed 40.0 percent to $6.5 million from $4.6 million a year earlier. Operating income for the three month period ended June 30, 2010 was $303,000 compared with an operating loss of $430,000 for the same quarter last year. However, because of currency fluctuation adjustments detailed below, net income for the fiscal 2011 first quarter was only $44,000, or $0.01 per diluted share, compared with a net loss of $136,000, or $0.04 per share, last year. "The beginning of the new fiscal year represents a significant improvement compared with a year ago, as a majority of our customers are now experiencing improved business conditions and order flow is gaining momentum," said Roland Kohl, president and chief executive officer of Highway Holdings. "The company's strong financial position combined with reduced operating expenses and strongly increasing sales from long-term and new customers offers strong growth potential in the new fiscal year. Based upon our current sales forecasts from potential new and existing business, we expect to reach or exceed in fiscal 2011 the sales levels that we achieved in 2009, prior to the global recession -- with increased profitability as a result the company's more efficient operations today," Kohl added. Gross profit as a percentage of sales for the first fiscal quarter of fiscal 2011 was 22.2 percent compared with 16.1 percent in the same period a year ago. Selling, general and administrative expense for the fiscal quarter decreased by $44,000, or 3.8 percent, from the same period a year ago despite increased sales. Selling, general and administrative expense as a percentage of sales for the first fiscal quarter of fiscal 2011 was 17.5 percent compared with 25.4 percent in the same period a year ago.