NEW YORK Buoyed by a
gradually recovering housing market and serendipitous market
conditions, Insteel Industries Inc. posted net income of more
than $2.4 million for its fiscal first quarter in contrast to a
$180,000 net loss during the same period a year earlier.
The Mount Airy, N.C.-based
manufacturer of steel wire reinforcing products said in its
earnings report released Jan. 17 that results for the three
months ended Dec. 29 were boosted by widening spreads between
average selling prices and raw material costs.
"Our (fiscal first-quarter)
results reflect stronger market conditions than we expected
going into the quarter," president and chief executive officer
H.O. Woltz told investors during a conference call. "Shipments
exceeded our forecast ... (and) we found it necessary to
schedule more plants at higher rates of unit capacity
realization than originally planned."
The companys sales totaled
nearly $85.89 million in the fiscal first quarter, up 1.3
percent from $84.81 million a year earlier, while shipments
rose 5.5 percent in the same comparison.
"Weve been pleasantly
surprised by the demand for our product," Woltz said. "We are
also encouraged by the continued recovery of the housing
Woltz said that new home
construction could be a lead indicator for an uptick in
nonresidential construction, another reason for optimism in the
He said Insteel also expects its
results "will be favorably impacted by the recently completed
reconfiguration of our welded wire reinforcement operations and
the ramp up of our engineered structural mesh expansion."
Woltz struck a cautionary note,
however, warning that macroeconomic conditions might slow
overall growth. "We expect only a modest increase in shipments
for 2013 pending a broader-based economic recovery that would
spur more robust job creation and construction activity," he