Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) at Owen Corning's roofing business dropped 22.1% in the second quarter from a year earlier to reach $149 million while the insulation business' EBIT loss improved to $26 million from its $28 million loss a year before, the company reported today.

Roofing sales rose 5.7% to $573 million primarily because of higher sales of asphalt to commercial customers that helped offset slightly lower selling prices on roofing products, Toledo, Ohio-based Owens Corning said. Meanwhile, insulation sales increased 15.5% to $328 million, mainly because of higher sales volumes.

The company said it expects roofing margins above 20% this year, continuing a profit trend that has gone on since 2008. Meanwhile, the insulation business will narrow its losses in 2010 despite the housing market's continuing slump, it predicted.

Company-wide, Owens Corning's second-quarter earnings before interest and taxes grew by nearly half to $125 million from $88 million in the April-June 2009 period as net sales increased 13% to $1.38 billion.