Celanese posts $159m Q4 loss as sales drop 27%

03 February 2009 13:38  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Celanese recorded a fourth-quarter loss of $159m (€124m), compared with a profit of $214m in the year-earlier quarter, as sales dropped 27% to $1.29bn, the US-based chemicals major said on Tuesday.

The company cited significantly lower volumes due to weak global demand and unprecedented inventory destocking throughout its end-consumer supply chains.

“During the fourth quarter, historically weak market conditions drove a dramatic decline in overall global demand for many industries that we supply,” CEO David Weidman said.

“While our consumer specialties segment continued to deliver high earnings levels, recessionary trends, coupled with an unprecedented inventory destocking, resulted in sharp volume declines in our other businesses,” he said.

Celanese recorded an operating loss of $152m for the three months ended 31 December, compared with an operating profit of $324m in the 2007 fourth quarter.

Results included impairment charges of $94m for the potential closure of the company's acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) production facility in Pardies, France, and its VAM production unit in Cangrejera, Mexico, it said.

As for the outlook, the company expected volumes to remain under pressure in 2009, even with easing of inventory destocking, Weidman said and pointed to the global economic recession and continued weak consumer demand.

($1 = €0.78)

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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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