Westlake records $6.1m Q1 net loss on drop in sales, demand

05 May 2009 11:41  [Source: ICIS news]

LONDON (ICIS news)--Westlake has reported a net loss in the first quarter of $6.1m (€4.6m), a slump from profits of $5.4m during the same three months last year, the company said on Tuesday.

The company reported an operating loss of $0.9m compared with profits of $13.9m during the same period last year.

Westlake said these losses reflected lower sales volumes, weakness in the vinyls construction markets, reduced demand for polyethylene, an unscheduled outage caused by an ice storm at its Calvert City facility and a turnaround at one of its ethylene units in Lake Charles, Louisiana.

Net sales dropped 47% to $488.3m from $915.1m in the first quarter of 2008.

The company said that as well as a fall in demand, the decrease in sales was due to significantly lower selling prices for all of its major products with the exception of caustic, after the global collapse in commodity prices in the fourth quarter of 2008.

"Our volume improved in the first quarter of 2009 as compared to last quarter and we were able to implement price increases for polyethylene and PVC [polyvinyl chloride] resin,” said Albert Chao, president and CEO.

“As to our financial liquidity, we currently have $300m in cash, including restricted cash, and have no outstanding borrowings under our revolving credit facility," he added.

($1 = €0.75)

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By: Hilde Ovrebekk
+44 20 8652 3214



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