Manufacturing group Lenzing said strong demand for its fibres drove sales and profit growth during the first nine months of 2006.

Sales were up 16.7% in the period to EUR814.1m (US$1.07bn) from EUR679.6m last year, while EBIT grew 16.4% to EUR80.1m.

Pre-tax profits at the company, which is present in the nonwoven, plastics and engineering sectors, were EUR72.2m during the nine-month period.

Third-quarter sales totalled EUR280.6m, the company said.

"From today's perspective, a gratifying annual result - possibly in line with that of record year 2004 - can be expected," said chairman Thomas Fahnemann.

"This, however, depends on the development of raw material prices in the fourth quarter," he added.

2004 revenues were EUR871m and EBIT was EUR104m.

Recent press reports have suggested Indian firm The Aditya Birla Group might buy a stake in or acquire the whole of Lenzing.