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Composites Industry News

News for January 2002


Pilots Ask for Airbus A300 Grounding

25th January 2002 0 comments

Dozens of American Airlines pilots want the company to ground its fleet of Airbus A300 jets until investigators determine why Flight 587 crashed in New York City last November.

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Owens Corning Reports Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2001 Results

25th January 2002 0 comments

Owens Corning today reported financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2001, as well as results for the full year 2001. For the fourth quarter 2001, the company had net sales of $1.17 billion, compared to $1.11 billion in the same period in 2000. Owens Corning reported $12 million in income from operations for the quarter, and a net loss of $7 million. For the fourth quarter of the prior year, the company reported a loss from operations of $178 million resulting in a net loss of $114 million for the period. Income from ongoing operations for the fourth quarter of 2001 was $83 million, which excludes $46 million for restructuring and other charges, $27 million of Chapter 11-related charges and $2 million of income from asbestos-related insurance recoveries. Income from ongoing operations for the fourth quarter of the prior year was $48 million, which excludes $202 million for restructuring and other charges and $24 million of Chapter 11-related charges. For the full year 2001, the company had net sales of $4.76 billion, compared to $4.94 billion for the full year 2000. Owens Corning reported $116 million of income from operations and net income of $39 million for 2001. For the prior year, the company reported a loss from operations of $631 million and a net loss of $478 million. Income from ongoing operations for 2001 was $336 million, which excludes $140 million for restructuring and other charges, $87 million of Chapter 11-related charges and $7 million of income from asbestos-related insurance recoveries. Income from ongoing operations for the prior year was $412 million, which excludes $229 million for restructuring and other charges, $24 million of Chapter 11-related charges and $790 million of charges related to asbestos. Owens Corning ended 2001 with a cash balance of $764 million compared to $550 million in 2000.

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GKN buys Boeing facility for F22 fighter programme

25th January 2002 0 comments

GKN PLC has acquired the Thermal Joining Center (TJC) in Kent, Washington State, from Boeing Co’s Military Aircraft and Missiles Group. This increases its presence on the F22 Raptor fighter aircraft programme and raising the value of the programme to GKN to 1.4 bln usd. The facility costs 4.8 mln usd and produces an important titanium assembly for the F22 using electron beam welding, it said. GKN also said its Aerospace Services unit has been awarded a 15 mln usd contract to develop and manufacture resin transfer moulding (RTM) composite components for the RAH-66 Comanche helicopter which is being designed for the US Army by Boeing and United Technologies unit Sikorsky. The US Air Force is currently set to acquire 331 F22 Raptors through 2013. Thirteen Comanche aircraft are scheduled for production beginning in the third quarter of 2002 under the Engineering, Manufacturing and Development phase of the project for which GKN won the 15 mln usd contract. Regular production is expected to call for the manufacture of 1,205 Comanche helicopters over the next 25 years, GKN added.

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Ameron Reports Sixth Consecutive Year of Record Earnings for 2001

25th January 2002 0 comments

Ameron International Corporation reported record earnings for its fiscal year ended November 30, 2001. Sales were $551.4 million in 2001 and $550.7 million in 2000. All operating segments had lower sales in the fourth quarter, with the Performance Coatings & Finishes and the Fiberglass-Composite Pipe Groups most affected by the economic slowdown. Profits remained steady in spite of lower sales as Ameron benefited from lower expenses and lower interest rates. Fiberglass-Composite Pipe’s sales increased in 2001, but profits declined due to uneven plant utilization. Sales of oilfield piping were robust throughout 2001, while sales into worldwide industrial and fuel-handling markets suffered. During the fourth quarter, orders for oilfield piping fell as oil prices reacted to the economic slowdown. The Fiberglass-Composite Pipe Group is expected to improve in 2002 if oil prices do not fall significantly from current levels.

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Kenaf Promoters High on Fiber Crop

25th January 2002 0 comments

A materials company is encouraging southern farmers to grow kenaf, a fast-growing fibrous plant. Integrated Composite Technologies needs up to 11,000 acres of kenaf within two years as part of its plan to make boards and preshaped molding from recycled plastics and cellulose fibers from sawdust, rice hulls or the kenaf plants. “This is the first step in changing a whole materials paradigm that has built up over the past 200 years,” ICT president Ron Rutherford said. Africans grew kenaf as early as 6000 B.C., and within the last century it has been grown in India, Asia, Africa, the Near East and Latin America. U.S. farmers devoted about 12,000 acres to kenaf last year, mostly in Texas, Mississippi and Georgia. Kenaf comes in two varieties: One with leaves that resemble marijuana, the other with heart-shaped leaves similar to the hibiscus plant, a kenaf cousin. Kenaf stalks, which reach heights of 12 to 14 feet, have two types of fiber. The long, stringy outer fiber can be twisted into cords and ropes. The shorter inner fibers can be used to make paper, or blended with plastic to make molded or extruded products. Agricultural officials say some automakers have switched from fiberglass to molded door panels made with kenaf, which is stronger, lighter and less likely to shatter or warp in extreme temperatures. Last October, ICT moved into a former recreational-vehicle plant in Montezuma, an economically depressed town about 100 miles south of Atlanta. The company has a $1.5 million, computer-controlled machine that blends plastic and fibers at high temperatures and squeezes the paste out like Play-Doh. Rutherford said the plant can support 10 machines, and more have been ordered. Baldwin’s work has demonstrated that kenaf can be grown in the Southern Cotton Belt, but farmers have been reluctant because of limited markets. They also would need equipment to separate kenaf’s fibers. Andy Moye, a board member of the Carolina Kenaf Farmers’ Foundation in Snow Hill, N.C., said the crop has attracted the interest of some tobacco farmers whose incomes have been slashed by mandatory production cuts. “We’re feeling our way into it,” said Moye. “It’s a case of trying to identify some places it can go and giving customers what they want. It grows well here and it appears to have a lot of versatility.”

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