Medical Action Industries Inc. said Wednesday its fiscal fourth-quarter net income nearly tripled as the medical and surgical products supplier resolved operational problems and saw a benefit from lower raw material costs.

The Brentwood, N.Y., company said it earned $5.2 million, or 30 cents per share, in the three months that ended March 31. That compares to net income of $1.8 million, or 11 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

Sales fell 2 percent to $71.2 million in the quarter.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected, on average, earnings of 24 cents per share on $74.2 million in revenue.

The company saw its cost of sales drop 8 percent to $53.7 million and said it reduced its debt to $18.2 million from $60 million at the close of the fiscal year.

"We have successfully remedied the underlying causes of production inefficiencies that existed in our Gallaway (Tenn.) manufacturing facility and, as a result, have eliminated the backorders that have challenged us for most of last year," CEO Paul D. Meringolo said in a statement.

For the full fiscal year that ended March 31, Medical Action Industries earned $16.8 million, or $1.03 per share, on $290.1 million in revenue.

Medical Action Industries' shares rose 21 cents to $11.19 in morning trading.