Viscose fibre manufacturer Lenzing AG today (23 April) said its annual net profit rose 47.5% as the group continued its expansion drive, and the board raised its dividend by 25%.

Net income was EUR83.9m (US$113.7m) in 2006, helped by increased demand as sales grew 17% to EUR1.10bn from EUR942.6m in 2005, exceeding the EUR1bn mark for the first time.

Lenzing's management proposed a dividend of EUR10 per share and said it expects to see a further "significant increase in sales" this year.

So far in 2007, Lenzing has opened a new viscose fibre production plant in China and announced plans to invest $200m in another viscose fibre production plant in India.