NEW YORK Insteel
Industries Inc. posted net income of $3.71 million in its
fiscal second quarter, up sharply from $262,000 in the same
period last year, which the company attributed to widening
spreads between selling prices and raw material
Net income of $6.12 million for
the six months ended March 30 vs. just $82,000 a year earlier
was the highest level for the first half of any fiscal year
since the recession, and president and chief executive officer
H.O. Woltz III said during a conference call that improving
construction markets and sentiment would continue to improve
"Anecdotally, our customers are
more optimistic about their business prospects than at any time
since the construction downturn," he said.
Poor weather during the fiscal
second quarter dampened demand for construction products,
however, and net sales fell 4.8 percent to $82.87 million from
a year earlier as shipments slipped 1.5 percent and average
selling prices decreased 3.4 percent.
The Mount Airy, N.C.-based steel
wire reinforcing products manufacturer charted several new
engineered structural mesh production lines in 2013, including
a new production line at its Texas facility that started up in
the fiscal second quarter and a production line at its North
Carolina facility to be commissioned in the fiscal third
"(Its) a highly flexible
line that will produce a wide variety of shapes and circles.
... Theres a tremendous amount of flexibility," Woltz
told AMM in an interview after the conference call.
The line will reduce waste from excess steel use. "Were
putting the steel exactly where the customer needs it and
avoiding the waste of steel."
The expansions come despite the
company running at a 46-percent capacity utilization rate, in
part because it seeks to position itself to take advantage of
improved construction this year in regional markets, Woltz
said, particularly in Texas, the highest user of concrete
reinforcing bar in the country, a competitor product to
engineered structural mesh, according to Concrete Reinforcing
Steel Institute data.
"In the Texas market, we see a
number of large products that actually are having us operating
at reasonable rates of capacity. And some of our operations are
at six days a week," Woltz said. "Our outlook for that market
its pretty bullish based on new work thats coming."