US Eastman sees $32m Q4 loss on abandoned gasification project

28 January 2010 22:46  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--US polyester producer Eastman Chemical on Thursday reported a 2009 fourth-quarter net loss of $32m (€22.7m), down from a $2m loss a year ago, because of asset impairment and restructuring charges related to the company’s discontinued gasification project in Beaumont, Texas.

Sales were nearly flat at $1.3bn, down 1% from 2008.

Volumes were 12% higher in the 2009 fourth quarter and costs were lower, largely offsetting a 10% decline in selling prices.

“We are in the early stages of a recovery in our sales volume, which we expect will continue through the [2010] year as the global economy improves,” said chief executive Jim Rogers.

However, the company cautioned that it expected higher raw material and energy costs in 2010 than 2009, which could weigh on earnings.

By segment, year-over-year fourth-quarter sales revenue was down 20% in the coatings, adhesives, specialty polymers and inks segment; down 1% in the fibres segment; and down 38% for performance chemicals and intermediates.

The company also reported a sales decline of 33% in the performance polymers segment and of 19% in the specialty plastics segment.

For the full 2009 year, Eastman posted earnings of $136m on sales of $5.05bn - well under 2008 figures of $346m and $6.73bn, respectively.

Company shares increased 44 cents, or 0.8%, to $56.98/share in after-hours trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

($1 = €0.71)

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By: Ben DuBose
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