The company reported net sales of $48.2 million in the first quarter of 2018, up 36.5% compared to the year-ago period. Converted product sales were $43.6 million, a year over year increase of 32.7%, and parent roll sales were $4.6 million, up 86.8% over the first quarter of 2017. The increase in converted product sales was a result of the company ramping new customer volume at the Barnwell facility. Parent roll growth was driven by an increase in the volume of excess parent rolls sold from Barnwell. Orchids had a first quarter operating loss of $1.0 million in 2018 and a loss of $0.9 million in the first quarter of 2017. The increase in the operating loss was driven by SG&A increasing to $3.6 million in the first quarter of 2018, up $1.0 million from $2.6 million in the year-ago period. Click Read More below for additional information.
Strong sales growth continued throughout the second quarter, driven by volume growth, product mix and higher prices. Sales volumes increased compared to the same period last year despite different timing in the maintenance schedule. Profitability continued to strengthen with excellent cash flow delivery in the second quarter.
Halfway into 2021, we experienced strong demand and a good sales momentum for all our product segments. The positive market outlook is expected to remain throughout the year. We are implementing additional price increases in several of our segments to counterbalance cost increases in chemicals, energy, market pulp and logistics. Pulp wood supply in our regions remains good and at relatively stable price levels.
In April, we had a production incident at our Gävle mill. Fortunately, no one was injured, but our board production was disrupted for a few weeks and I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to all our customers affected. I assure you that we will do our outmost to ensure stable deliveries going forward.
Our new board machine at Gruvön, KM7, produced its first commercial output of liquid packaging board in May, ahead of schedule. The ramp-up and certification work will continue, and we expect gradually increasing deliveries of both liquid packaging board and carton board from Gruvön. This will allow further mix improvements by reallocating production across mills as well as the acceleration of KM7 over the next few years.
Net sales grew by 6% to SEK 6 504 million (6 156) Excluding currency effects net sales grew by 9%
Adjusted EBITDA increased by 14% to SEK 883 million (774)
*Operating profit amounted to SEK 404 million (245)
*Net profit was SEK 311 million (202)
*Earnings per share amounted to SEK 1.50 (0.98)