08 May 2009 12:31 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS news)--Huntsman posted a net loss of $290m in the first quarter, down from a $7m gain in the same period last year due to lower demand across businesses, the US chemicals producer said on Friday.
Group sales dropped 33% year on year to $1.69bn, compared with $2.54bn in the first quarter of 2008.
"Our results for the first quarter of 2009 reflect decreased demand in all our businesses resulting from the worldwide economic slowdown,” said CEO Peter Huntsman.
Overall demand was seen to be softer than in the fourth quarter, but Huntsman said it had seen positive order patterns and left the quarter with stronger demand than year-end 2008.
Operating profits declined in all segments with the exception of Performance Products, which increased 53% on the back of lower raw materials costs.
Huntsman’s largest segment, Polyurethanes, recorded an 80% slump in earnings before interest tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) to $26m.
The decrease was mainly a result of lower methyl diphenyl diisocyanate (MDI) sales volumes and margins.
“We have taken aggressive action to manage those business elements within our control,” said the CEO. “We are ahead of target and schedule to eliminate in excess of $150m from our cost structure.”
On 17 April, Huntsman said it had obtained a credit agreement waiver with the lenders of a $650m credit facility, providing the company with more liquidity.
The company did not give any earnings or sales forecasts for the rest of 2009.
($1 = €0.75)
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