Leading yarn manufacturer Unifi Inc on Wednesday posted a far wider fourth quarter net loss as it was hurt by hefty charges linked to the restructuring of its US and European operations and the loss of an arbitration dispute with DuPont.

The North Carolina-base company reported a net loss of $30.5 million, or 57 cents per share, for the quarter ending June 29, compared to a net loss of $1.6m, or three cents per share, in the year-ago period.

It cited a $16.9m pre-tax charge related to its recent restructuring and a $13.9m pre-tax charge related to its row with DuPont, for the results.

Unifi said in a statement net sales for the 13 week period fell to $206.1m from $256.5m in the year-ago period 14 week period.

For fiscal 2003, it posted a net loss of $27.2m, or 51 cents per share, versus a net loss of $43.9m, or 82 cents per share, in fiscal 2002. Net sales fell to $849.1m from $914.7m last year which had 53 weeks.

CEO Brian Parke said: "We have continued to make progress in strengthening our balance sheet, and remain focused on improving the overall performance of our operating results.

"The new products launched in the past two years have completed the development cycle with our customers and are now finding their way into new retail programs with many of the world's most well-known and respected brands.

"In addition, our operations in Brazil have outperformed expectations, as strong demand for our products throughout that region has resulted in greater than anticipated results.

"And, although we experienced a decrease in net sales volume in fiscal 2003 compared to fiscal 2002, we expect our gross margins to grow slightly, as we continue to reduce operating costs and improve operating efficiencies."

He added: "Looking forward, our industry will continue to face extremely challenging conditions caused by slow economies around the world and aggressive fabric and apparel imports into the US and Europe.

"In light of these difficult business and economic conditions, Unifi will continue to take the actions necessary to maximise operating performance."