Viscose fibre manufacturer Lenzing Group said that net income rose to EUR23m (US$31m) for the first quarter of 2007, from EUR14.1m in the comparable period last year.

The company said that consolidated sales at the group increased by 13.8% to EUR297.2m, from EUR 261.2m in the comparable quarter last year, due to increases in its core fibres business.

Staff numbers at Lenzing by the end of the quarter were 5,288, up from 5,044 this time last year - mainly due to the start-up of production at a new viscose fibre plant in Nanjing, China.

The Austrian company reported strong demand for viscose fibres, to the benefit of its textile fibres and nonwoven fibres units.
In its outlook, Lenzing said that a positive market environment is expected to continue in the second quarter of 2007, but cautioned that: "Uncertainty in the market could be caused by trade policy discussions in the USA on undue subsidies for the Chinese textile industry, the continuing weakness of the US dollar towards the euro, and the high US cotton stock."