Operating income for the period grew 50 per cent to €18.6m ($29.8m) while revenue reached €276.3m ($440m), up 12.8 per cent on the second quarter of last year. Axel Herberg, Gerresheimer's CEO, said that: "Following our record year in 2007 we have again increased our sales and profit in the first half of 2008," adding that the firm "expects further growth in all divisions during the course of the year and will consistently continue to focus on pharma and life science." In a note to investors DZ Bank analyst Michael Bissinger said that Gerresheimer was upbeat about the likely development of its core markets ``despite the global financial crisis and the sharp increase in energy prices.'' Bissinger went on to recommend that investors buy shares in the Dusseldorf-headquartered firm. Sales growth across all divisions Turnover from Gerresheimer's tubular glass division grew some 10.3 per cent to €78m as the demand for ready-to-fill (RTF) glass syringes continued to increase. The firm said that its RTF production facilities are already operating at full capacity, but added that it expects output to increase when its new manufacturing unit becomes operational early next year. Gerresheimer's plastic systems unit generated revenue of €93.6m for the quarter, up 17.6 per cent on the same period last year. The company attributed the growth to substantial expansion of its inhaler and diabetes care product ranges. Sales in the firm's moulded glass operations also grew, climbing 6.1 per cent to €85.6m driven by demand for pharmaceutical vials in the US. The company added that production efficiency measures and efforts to improve capacity utilisation are beginning to yield considerable benefits. Gerresheimer's life sciences unit contributed some €22.6m to quarterly sales, an increase of 51 per cent. The firm said that this was largely attributable to the research business of Thermo Fisher Scientific which was integrated into the Kimble Chase joint venture last year. Sale of technical plastics unit In May, Gerresheimer completed preparations to sell off its technical plastics division and has since been actively seeking a buyer. The company says that 20-30 companies have expressed an interest in the unit, which was acquired alongside the medical plastics business when the company bought Wilden in 2007. The technical plastics business generates revenues of around €80m a year, with EBITDA margins in the low single digits. However, the main driver for plastics growth is the core medical systems unit, which makes products including dry powder inhalers, injections systems, and aerosol dispensers, as well as diagnostic components and medical pumps. At the time of Gerreshemier's announcement analysts at Dresdner Kleinwort welcomed the move, commenting that technical plastics, which include products such as mobile phone casings and automotive parts, have much lower profit margins than the fast-growing medical plastics sector.