INEOS Q1 EBITDA down 19.4% year on year but up sharply from Q4

16 April 2012 11:13  [Source: ICIS news]

INEOS Q1 EBITDA falls year on yearLONDON (ICIS)--INEOS's first-quarter EBITDA was down 19.4% year on year at €465m ($612m) but up sharply from the previous quarter following a significant improvement in trading, the Switzerland-registered group said on Monday. 

It reported comparable earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the fourth quarter of 2011 of €190m, and €577m for the year-earlier period.

The comparable figures exclude the refining business, which was disposed of in July 2011.

Margin pressure in European olefins and polymers (O&P) eased as the quarter progressed, INEOS said, but the business was hit hard by high naphtha costs at the start of the year and an unscheduled turnaround at a cracker in Cologne, Germany.

O&P Europe EBITDA for the quarter was €57m, down from €145m in the first quarter of 2011 but an improvement from a loss of €11m in the fourth quarter.

“Demand for olefins in the quarter continued to be solid, with particular market tightness for ethylene and propylene,” INEOS said, adding that butadiene continued to perform well.

“Polymer demand was moderate, with good progress made in recovering increased monomer prices,” it said.

The O&P business in North America benefited from low gas feedstock costs, reporting an EBITDA of €175m up from €142m in the year-earlier period. Polymer demand in the US remained “solid”, supported by an improving US economy.

Higher raw material prices were passed through in chemical intermediates in the quarter, INEOS added, but EBITDA was 19.7% lower year on year at €233m.

Phenol demand and margins were healthy, INEOS said, with nitrile volumes and margins described as “improving after a weak fourth quarter”.

“The Oxide business had a mixed performance for the quarter with good EO [ethylene oxide] demand in Europe partially offset by a weaker MEG [monoethylene glycol] market in Asia due to softer polyester demand,” it added.

INEOS said it had continued to focus on cash management and liquidity. Net debt was approximately €6.2bn at the end of March 2012.

“Cash balances at the end of the quarter were €670m, and availability under undrawn working capital facilities was €350m. Net debt leverage was approximately 3.8 times as at the end of March 2012,” it said.

($1 = €0.76)

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By: Nigel Davis
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