Panel manufacturer Sonae Indústria says it has witnessed a long-awaited “turnaround” after posting dramatically increased financial results for 2004.

The Portuguese-based company recorded net profits of €29.2m, up from a loss of €78.6m in 2003. Sales rose by 10% in 2004 to €1.58bn.

Sonae said market conditions in Central Europe and growth in eastern Europe were fundamental in improving the economics of the sector.

It reported high volumes and stable prices during the fourth quarter but resin costs increased by around 6.6% on the preceding three months. Sales in Iberia and France proved strongest, while the UK experienced a 16.7% reversal.

MDF sales grew by 6.2% in the fourth quarter and MFC by 8%, while OSB fell by 13.7%.

The company credited its “milestone” performance to financial restructuring, operational improvements and development of an autonomous organisation focused on industrial operations.