Ashland expects US butadiene prices to increase

29 January 2013 16:54  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Ashland expects US butadiene prices to keep “ticking up” going forward, the chief financial officer (CFO) of the US-based specialty chemicals firm said on Tuesday.

Ashland is a buyer of butadiene for its elastomer business, which is part of the company’s performance materials segment.

Higher butadiene prices, as well as a weak replacement tyre market and competition from low-cost imports, were the three key factors impacting Ashland’s elastomer business going forward, CFO Lamar Chambers said in briefing to analysts on Ashland’s fiscal 2013 first-quarter results

As a result, Ashland expects elastomer volumes in its current fiscal 2013 second quarter ending 31 March to be roughly in line with the first quarter, Chambers said.

Chambers added that in the year-ago first quarter, Ashland’s elastomers had a benefit of about $12m (€9m) from declining butadiene prices at the time.

Ashland’s performance materials segment saw a 9% year-on-year decline in fiscal 2013 first-quarter sales, to $345m. The segment’s gross profit as a percent of sales was 15.7%, down from 19.2% in the same period a year ago.

($1 = €0.74)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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