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Libbey reports $93 million loss in 2017

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Exterior of the Libbey Inc. headquarters.

The Blade/Jeremy Wadsworth
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Toledo-based Libbey Inc. on Tuesday reported a loss of $93.4 million for 2017, absorbing the impact of a one-time revaluation of its Latin America operations in the third quarter, and changes to U.S. tax law in the fourth quarter which affected the company negatively.

“2017 was a tough year for our business as a variety of factors impacted our business,” Bill Foley, Libbey’s chief executive officer, said. “... I’m looking forward to a much better 2018.”

The loss equated to $4.24 a share. A year ago the company had a profit of $10.1 million, or 46 cents a share.

The bulk of the loss came in the third quarter, in which a weaker-than-expected performance in Mexico combined with a highly competitive market and poor exchange rate between U.S. and Mexican currencies forced Libbey to decrease the book value of its operations and take the write-off of $79.7 million.

But the bad news didn’t stop with the third quarter. In the final quarter U.S. tax reform passed in late December forced adjustments to the value of its deferred tax assets and added a one-time charge of $6.7 million.

For the fourth quarter, Libbey had a loss of $7.2 million, or 32 cents a share, compared with a loss of $2.2 million, or 10 cents a share, for the fourth quarter of 2016.

The quarter did have some good news — sales were up 9 percent to $223.9 million, compared with $205.8 million a year earlier. For the year, sales were $781.8 million, down 1 percent from $793.4 in 2016.

Mr. Foley said while 2017 was a tough, the table glassware maker did have some positives that likely will pay off down the road. It continued to focus on growing its e-commerce platform, and noted growth in every sales channel.

Libbey also continues to expand its product line, introducing 295 news products on the retail side and 350 new ones on the food service side. It also had a successful rollout of new products at a major restaurant chain.

The company expects to have 30 percent more products on its e-commerce platform by July, and anticipates the number of users of the platform will double in 2018.

“I believe our new platform will be a consistent driver of growth for Libbey going forward,” Mr. Foley said.

In trading on the New York Stock Exchange, Libbey’s shares closed at $6.70 Tuesday, up 69 cents.

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