Chart Industries Inc, a leading independent global manufacturer of highly engineered equipment used in the production, storage and end-use of hydrocarbon and industrial gases, has reported results for the first quarter ended 31st March 2008 and revealed a doubling of net income on a net sales increase of 12%.

Net income for the first quarter of 2008 stood at $14.6m, or $0.51 per diluted share, compared to first quarter 2007 net income of $7.2m - or $0.28 per diluted share. Net sales for the first quarter of 2008 increased 12% to $170.3m from $152.5m in the comparable period a year ago.

Gross profit for the first quarter of 2008 was a healthy $51.9m, against $39.9m in the comparable quarter of 2007, and as a result of such positive performances, the company’s 2008 sales and earnings guidance has increased.

“We are very pleased with the quarterly margin improvement led by our Energy & Chemicals segment, which was significantly above the prior year results,” stated Sam Thomas, Chart’s Chairman, President and CEO.

“The strong overall performance is a reflection of a more favourable project mix and improvements in project execution. Orders in the Energy & Chemicals segment were down in the first quarter as compared to fourth quarter of 2007, primarily due to several large orders received in the prior quarter that totalled over $45m.”

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses for the first quarter of 2008 were $23.1m compared with $19.5m for the same quarter a year ago, with growth in SG&A expenses primarily the result of increased support costs related to business growth.

Energy & Chemicals (E&C) segment sales improved by 41% to reach $73.9m for the first quarter of 2008, compared with $52.3m for the same quarter in the prior year. This increase is primarily attributable to an improved project mix and increased throughput of brazed aluminium heat exchangers. BioMedical segment sales for the quarter decreased slightly to $22.1m from $23.4m for the same quarter in the prior year. This decrease in sales was primarily attributable to lower volume in medical respiratory product sales.

Based on first quarter results, current market conditions, and its recent acquisition of Flow Instruments & Engineering GmbH, the company is raising previously announced sales and earnings guidance - now expected to be in the range of $745 to $780m, compared to previous guidance of $730 to $765m.