Texon reported sales of £36.7m and operating profits of £3m for the three months ended March 31, 2000 compared with sales of £ 28.3m and operating profits of £ 2.8m for the similar period of 1999. Sales, at constant exchange rates, grew by 34.9 per cent and EBITDA was £ 4.2m or 11.4 per cent for the quarter as compared with £3.4m or 12 per cent for the first quarter of 1999.Peter Selkirk, Texon's chief executive, commented " This is a good set of results for our company. On the one hand we are now able to demonstrate the positive impact on our business of the new acquisitions made in the past year and on the other hand we can see the continuing return to growth in our core business"Gross profit for the three months ended March 31, 2000 increased by £1.6m to £11.3m compared to £9.7m in the comparable period in 1999. When expressed as a percentage of sales, gross profit was 30.9 per cent for the quarter, a decrease of 3.2 percentage points from that achieved in 1999. There are two reasons for the decline, firstly the acquired businesses do not generate as high gross margins as Texon's original business and secondly, higher raw material prices caused us to announce an increase in selling prices which has yet to flow through into the gross margin.Texon is one of the world's largest manufacturers and marketers of structural materials essential for the manufacture of footwear. The company operates a global business, with sales that are widely diversified by geographic region and product line and operates 17 manufacturing facilities in the UK, the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Brasil, Australia and China.