Chart Industries, Inc. has reported a positive set of results for the first quarter ended 31st March 2009, with a healthy rise in net income and investments increased too.

Net income for the first quarter totalled $19.5m, or $0.68 per diluted share, which compares favourably with Q1 2008 net income of $14.7m and represents a rise of around 33%.

Cash and short term investments increased to $177.2m, a development also cited by the company as a highlight of the first quarter.

Net sales for the first quarter of 2009 increased 6% to $180.2m, from $170.3m in the same period just a year ago, while gross profit for the first quarter of 2009 stood at $62.7m - versus $51.9m in the comparable quarter of 2008.

Sam Thomas, Chart’s Chairman, President and CEO, confidently explained, $quot;Our strong financial performance during the first quarter, particularly in our Energy and Chemicals (E&C) business, benefited from our project backlog, improved project execution and ongoing cost reduction initiatives.”

$quot;I'm especially pleased with our ability to implement timely cost containment actions to right-size our businesses, driving margin improvement and strong free cash flow, while we operate in this very uncertain business environment.$quot;

$quot;As we expected, orders continued to slow in the first quarter due to diminishing global industrial and capital project activity,$quot; Thomas added and continued, $quot;this trend particularly affected our Distribution & Storage (D&S) and E&C businesses. We remain very cautious regarding second half 2009 order activity, but we have seen an increase in recent bid activity for projects, which in the past has been a leading indicator for improved order intake.$quot;

Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses for the first quarter of 2009 were $25.9m, or 14.4% of sales, compared with $23.1m for the same quarter a year ago.

This increase is thought to be primarily due to variable sales commission costs, related to increased sales at E&C compared to the prior year's quarter, and other factors.

Cash and short term investments reached $177.2m as of 31st March 2009, which is $22.8m higher than balances at 31st December 2008.