Balchem profits as encapsulated sector improves

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After a difficult year in 2003 owing to the generally uncertain
economic environment and conservative purchasing patterns from
encapsulation customers, 2004 is turning out rosier for Balchem.

The New York firm​ recorded record sales for the second quarter of $16.4 million, an increase of 10.7 percent compared to $14.9 million for the previous year. Net earnings for the quarter were up 18.3 percent to $2 million, resulting in a diluted net earnings increase of 14.4 percent to $0.39 per share versus $0.34 per share for the comparable period in 2003.

This quarter all three segments of the company, namely the ARC speciality products, the BCP ingredients sector and the encapsulated/nutritional products division reported improved sales and earnings.

Sales in the encapsulated/nutritional products segment were up 10.7 percent to $6.4 million, compared to the previous year. This was principally because of improvements in the domestic and international food markets, as well as increasing acceptance of the company's Nitroshure product - launched in the first quarter of 2004 - from the dairy industry.

"Strength in the ARC specialty products and BCP ingredients unencapsulated feed supplements segments should continue,"​ said Dino Rossi, president and CEO of Balchem, commenting on the outlook for 2004. "Sales in our encapsulated/nutritional products segment increased 12.9 percent sequentially from the quarter ending 31 March 2004 and we continue to see signs of volume improvement in the human food and nutrition market."

Rossi believed that the encapsulated/nutrational products segment would continue to improve during 2004.

Last year, the company was hit by a slowdown in new product launches in the food industry, which generates about half the sales of its encapsulated segment.

In addition, increased competition in both the domestic and international markets put pressure on prices and eroded margins, with the company seeing losses in the encapsulated segment of almost $1 million after a $5.1 million profit in 2002.

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