Austrian viscose fibres maker Lenzing AG has returned to profit in the second quarter of its financial year, and says it is seeing "a revival of demand" in the global fibre market.

The company today (24 August) posted a quarterly profit of EUR11.3m (US$16.2m), after seeing a net loss of EUR 5.4m in the first quarter.

However, results for the first half show it is still a long way behind last year's levels, with profit of EUR5.9m lagging 87% behind the EUR46.8m posted in the first six months of last year.

Six-month sales dropped by 14.4% to EUR 589.9m, from EUR689.5m a year earlier, which the company blamed on lower fibre production, lower fibre prices and lower sales in its plastics unit.

"After the sharp collapse at the turn of the year we are now witnessing a certain firming of the global fibre market," said chairman Peter Untersperger.

But he said while the volume of demand has picked up recently, prices "are still unsatisfactory...and far below the levels of the past record year."

Looking ahead, Lenzing said it expects results for the second half of the year to stabilise, although low prices will drag down full year sales.