05 February 2009 17:27 [Source: ICIS news]
Deterioration in the downstream US flat glass market and expected stagnation in the Latin American market could bring a sales growth rate of 2% this year, compared with 5% growth in 2008, said Michael Wilson, general manager of FMC’s industrial chemical segment.
In total, officials at the Philadelphia-based company said they expected full-year 2009 earnings for its industrial chemical segment, which includes soda ash and phosphate, to be down 10-20% on low sales volumes and higher input costs.
“In contrast to a robust 2008, we expect a slowdown in demand in 2009,” Wilson said.
Demand from the caustic soda market could be the one bright spot for soda ash, Wilson said.
With caustic soda prices four times as high as those for soda ash, more caustic soda market players were seeking soda ash for conversion, Wilson said.
Caustic soda prices were $860-910/dst (dry short ton) (€671-710/dst), according to global chemical market intelligence service ICIS pricing. Soda ash prices were assessed at $165-215/short ton.
FMC reported on 4 February a fourth-quarter net income of $46.3m, up 13.2% from $40.9m in the 2007 fourth quarter.
Its industrial chemicals segment benefited from higher soda ash and phosphate prices, with fourth-quarter revenue of $308m, an 8% increase from the prior-year quarter, the company said.
($1 = €0.78)
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