Garment firm Delta Apparel has announced plans for an offshore manufacturing unit, and has also reported record full-year sales and earnings.

Delta said it will open a new state-of-the-art textile plant called Ceiba Textiles, which will be located in Green Valley Industrial Park in San Pedro Sula, Honduras.

The 300,000 sq ft facility will knit, dye, finish, cut and sew fabrics into apparel, primarily for the Activewear segment of Delta's business.

The company expects to complete the facility during financial 2007, with production slated to begin in the first quarter of 2008.

Production will reach 500,000 pounds per week in fiscal 2008 and to one million pounds in 2009.

Ceiba is expected to lead to pre-tax savings of about US$1m in 2008 and at full capacity will lead to savings of $7m annually.

Delta plans to spend capital of about $25m on the plant, including the cost of constructing the building.

In addition to transferring some existing equipment from the US to Honduras, the company expects to invest about $15m over the next three years in new equipment for the facility.

President Robert W Humphreys said: "We are expecting healthy demand for our apparel products over the next several years and believe the opening of Ceiba Textiles will allow us to meet the ongoing needs of our customer base and improve our cost structure.

"We are focused on maintaining our competitive position and are committed to maintaining efficient, low-cost manufacturing operations."

The company has also reported full-year net sales up 18.4% to $270.1m compared to $228.1m last year. Net income was up 32% to $14.8m.

This followed fourth-quarter sales of a record $82.5m, representing an increase of 24.4% from last year. Quarterly net income was $6.3m compared to $3.2m a year ago.

In the Retail-Ready division, Soffe reported a 32.6% growth in fourth-quarter sales. Junkfood sales missed expectations but sell-through was "solid", Humphreys said.

Activewear sales were up in the fourth quarter, he added.

Humphreys said: "Our record results released today are indicative of the strong demand in all of our product areas. As we look ahead, we continue to focus on initiatives that will grow our business, improve our margins, and maintain our position as a leading producer of high quality knit apparel."

For the first fiscal quarter of the new year, Delta expects sales of $64m to $68m and diluted earnings per share of $0.41 to $0.45.

For the 2007 fiscal year, it foresees sales of $325m to $340m and diluted earnings per share in the range of $1.91 to $2.05.