Innovative products such as its patented Millennium bra and seamless intimate apparel products helped push Tefron Ltd back into profit in the third quarter ended 30 September 2001.

Yos Shiran, chief executive officer of Tefron Ltd said: "This has been a difficult year for Tefron and for our customers, but we are pleased with what we have accomplished under these adverse conditions.

"We are particularly pleased to have achieved an operating profit of $0.8 million, following three consecutive quarters of operating losses. EBITDA for the third quarter was $3.5 million."  

Sales for the third quarter were $48.3 million, compared to sales of $50.1 million for the third quarter of 2000. Operating profit for the quarter was $0.8 million, compared to an operating profit of $0.3 million for the prior year's quarter.

For the first nine months of 2001, sales were $139.7 million, compared to $174.4 million for the first nine months of 2000. Operating loss for the first nine months was $4.5 million, compared to operating income of $14.0 million for the same period last year.

At $4.4 million, cash flow for the quarter remained strong, enabling Tefron to reduce bank debt by $7.9 million and to retire lease debts by $2.4 million since the beginning of the year.

"We are continuing to move production to our offshore facilities. This enables us to further reduce production costs, which will translate into substantial savings in the future."