Consolidated net sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 were $86.5 million, down 11.9% vs. the first quarter of fiscal 2020. All three operating divisions faced significant challenges related to the pandemic throughout the last two months in the first quarter, given the fiscal year-end, with the revenue shortfall being driven mainly by a decline in Engineered Films along with lower net sales in Aerostar. Despite the substantial global economic challenges, Applied Technology achieved year-over-year sales growth vs. the first quarter of fiscal 2020 by leveraging its industry-leading products and strong customer relationships.
Consolidated operating income for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 was $3.9 million vs. operating income of $15.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2020, decreasing 74% year-over-year. Included in the results for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 was $3.8 million of expenses associated with Raven Autonomy. The year-over-year decrease in operating income was driven principally by the investment in Raven Autonomy, a significant decline in operating leverage within Engineered Films and delayed fulfillment of stratospheric platform contracts in Aerostar stemming from the pandemic.
Applied Technology Division
Net sales for Applied Technology in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 were $42 million, up slightly vs. the first quarter of the prior year. Order activity remained strong for Applied Technology's core products; however, the Company's enhanced safety precautions temporarily reduced workforce availability and precluded certain orders from being fulfilled during the first quarter. The sales development for the division was relatively strong, especially considering the current economic environment. Increased sales to OEMs of new and existing products in the current quarter greatly benefited the division.
Division operating income in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 was $8.9 million, down $4.3 million or 32.5% versus the first quarter of fiscal 2020. The decline was primarily driven by the division's strategic investment in Raven Autonomy. This year's first quarter results included $3.8 million of Raven Autonomy related expenses, primarily research and development investments to drive the commercialization of its autonomous ag solutions.
Update on Strategic Platforms for Growth
In Raven Autonomy, the ownership of the remaining interest in DOT Technology Corp. was accelerated in the first quarter of fiscal 2021. This transaction is expected to close in June and will further streamline the development of autonomous technology within Applied Technology. In addition, the Company is actively advancing the perception, path planning and AutoCart technology purchased with the acquisition of Smart Ag and will be launching an autonomous grain cart solution in fiscal 2021 in advance of the fall harvest.
The Company expects strong market acceptance for AutoCart and is continuing to develop system capabilities for additional use cases and future international expansion. The Company remains committed to sustaining its significant investment in Raven Autonomy in fiscal 2021 and beyond, despite the economic environment, due to its confidence in the substantial market potential that exists for autonomous ag solutions.
Fiscal 2021 Outlook
"Fiscal 2021 has brought, and will continue to bring forward, unique challenges, but I am confident in our ability to execute on our four strategic priorities while ensuring the health and well-being of our team members," said Dan Rykhus, president and CEO. "We continue to expect a relatively strong year within Applied Technology, with year-over-year revenue growth from new products. However, low commodity prices, declines in ethanol production and an anticipated tightening of ag lending is expected to limit the division's growth during the remainder of fiscal 2021. Overall, with conditions constantly changing, the length and duration of this economic slowdown is still uncertain, but we are well prepared to respond to the challenges we will face. The fundamentals of our company remain very strong, and I have great confidence in our long-term success."
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