Good News for Graham


Graham Packaging Holdings Co. reported last week that its operating income for the first quarter rose 17 percent from the same period of 2003, an announcement that could bode better times for a packaging industry that was hammered during the recession.

Graham said it had net sales of $260.3 million for the three months ended March 28, 11.9 percent higher than the first quarter of 2003. That increase, combined with better efficiency, raised operating income $4.8 million to $33.2 million.

The company had net income of $10.5 million in the first quarter, after a loss of $4.5 million in the year-ago period. The change was due in part to the refinancing of a senior credit agreement, which lowered quarterly interest expense from $30.9 million to $20.9 million.

Based in York, Pa., Graham makes and sells customized blow-molded plastic containers for automotive lubricants, as well a food and beverages, household products and personal care materials. The company is majority owned by the Blackstone Group, of New York.

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