US Stepan Q4 net income rises 17%, despite 4% decline in sales

19 February 2013 14:17  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Stepan’s 2012 fourth-quarter net income rose 17% year on year to $15.4m (€11.6m) even though sales fell 4% to $427.3m, the US-based chemicals firm said on Tuesday.

The improvement in net income was largely driven by lower raw materials costs and a better product mix in surfactants, Stepan’s largest business segment, it said.

Fourth-quarter gross profit in surfactants rose by 20% to $51.6m even as sales fell 6% to $310.5m.

Polymer segment gross profit grew by 31% to $16.6m on sales of $103.1m, up 9% year on year.

Fourth-quarter gross profit in Stepan’s specialty products segment fell to $2.9m on sharply lower volumes in food ingredients and nutritional supplements. Specialty products sales were down 26% to $13.7m.

Going forward, Stepan expects surfactants to continue to derive more of its profits from higher value-added products in the agricultural, oilfield and household and industrial cleaning markets, it said.

Meanwhile, Stepan’s polymer business should see continued growth from polyol used in energy saving rigid foam insulation.

Stepan also warned that it expects to see higher operating costs in its polymer business in China for 2013 and 2014 as it is required to relocate a production facility to a new site.

Stepan plans to supply its Asian polymer customers with product toll produced by another chemical plant in China or imported from other Stepan production sites, it added.

($1 = €0.75)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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