MERCERVILLE, N.J. – Resilient sheet and tile manufacturer Congoleum Corp. reported declining sales and a widening net loss for the first quarter ended March 31, 2001 and announced that it had fired 150 employees to save the company $1 million per month.

Sales for the period were $53.2 million, compared with sales of $56.9 million in the first quarter of 2000, a decrease of 6.5%. The net loss for the quarter was $3.7 million versus a net loss of $1.9 million in 2000. The loss per share was 45 cents in the first quarter of 2001 compared with a loss of 23 cents in the comparable year-earlier period.

The 150 job cuts, equivalent to 13% of the company’s workforce, also prompted Congoleum to take $700,000 charge in the first quarter to cover the cost of severance packages for the employees who were fired.

"Sales to the manufactured housing industry in the first quarter of this year were nearly $6 million below the first quarter of 2000, a decline consistent with the decreases in production reported by that industry. Unfortunately, this offset the continuing sales success of our Ultima sheet product line,” said Roger S. Marcus, chairman of the board. “First quarter sales in the southwestern United States also were below prior-year levels as a result of the transition from LDBrinkman to Mohawk. Our volume through Mohawk has been steadily improving, and we expect the negative effects of this transition are now behind us."