10 May 2012 15:53 [Source: ICIS news]MEDELLIN, Colombia (ICIS)--Brazil’s Braskem, Latin America’s largest petrochemical company, posted a net income of reais (R) 152m ($78m, €60m) for the first quarter, down 50% from R305m a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing on Thursday. "The petrochemical industry has operated in the first quarter with depressed margins resulting from low economic activity, especially in developed countries, and coupled with rising raw material prices, especially naphtha," the company said in their quarterly earnings report.
The price of naphtha increased by 16% over values in the fourth quarter of 2011, the company said.
Crackers operated at 93% of capacity during the quarter, up from 80% during the fourth quarter of 2011, according to Braskem.
Sales during the quarter of thermoplastic resins totalled 846,000 tonnes, an increase of 9% over the previous quarter.
The gradual recovery of spreads over the quarter was not sufficient to increase profit, Braskem said.
Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization, (EBITDA), reached R787m in the first quarter, down 14% from the same period last year.
Polyolefins demand increased by 2% over the previous quarter, while production increased year on year by 11%, the company said.
Polyvinyl chloride (PVC) demand also increased, rising by 9% year on year, as activity in the construction industry in Brazil increased.
Braskem also advanced in the construction of its butadiene (BD) project, with 88% of the project completed and a start-up date of July 2012, the company said.
In Mexico, the Ethylene XXI project advanced, with 40% of the site work done and maintaining the projected start date in 2015.
Braskem Idesa, a joint venture between Braskem and Mexico’s Idesa, began civil construction work on its Ethylene XXI project May.($1 = €0.77)
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