21 January 1999 17:19 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (CNI)--FMC's chemical business profits increased 9.5% in 1998 to $271.7m (Euro232m) as operating income from its agricultural products sector more than doubled to offset a 13% decline in industrial chemicals.
Chemical industry sales contributed 51%, or $2.22bn, of the Chicago, Illinois-based company's total sales of $4.4bn in 1998. But chemical sales fell 1.3% from 1997.
FMC also reports financial results for an energy systems division and a food and transportation equipment business unit. Overall, the company posted after-tax income of $185m compared with $156m for 1997.
By chemical segment, FMC noted its lower 1997 earnings in agricultural products reflected problems starting a sulfentrazone plant that year. In contrast, FMC said its agriculture business cut costs significantly in 1998 to increase profits. Agricultural unit sales increased 1.6% to $647m with operating profits of $76.3m for the year.
In FMC's speciality chemicals business, sales and earnings declines in the lithium operations suffered from price competition in upstream products. But earnings for food ingredients and process additives increased in 1998. The sector posted a 0.9% decline in sales to $598m with a 1.3% jump in profits to $77.9m.
Industrial chemicals suffered from declines in price and volume for soda ash and "significantly" decreased sales to Asia. That sector reported a 3.75% decline in sales to $974m with a 13% drop in profits to $117.5m for 1998.
For the latest chemical news, data and analysis that directly impacts your business sign up for a free trial to ICIS news - the breaking online news service for the global chemical industry.
Get the facts and analysis behind the headlines from our market leading weekly magazine: sign up to a free trial to ICIS Chemical Business.
|ICIS news FREE TRIAL|
|Get access to breaking chemical news as it happens.|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX)|
|ICIS Global Petrochemical Index (IPEX). Download the free tabular data and a chart of the historical index|