21 October 2013 14:25 [Source: ICIS news]
LONDON (ICIS)--US-based chemicals firm Stepan said on Monday that its net profit for the third quarter of 2013 had increased by 1% year on year, to $20.4m (€14.9m).
Net sales for the period increased by 8% year on year to $475.5m as a result of improved sales volumes, particularly in North America, where volumes increased by 2% compared to the same period a year earlier, Stepan said
Demand for agricultural products continued to increase globally, while sales of functional surfactants used in oilfields declined, the company added.
"Despite the challenging operating environment, we delivered improved earnings," said CEO Quinn Stepan.
“Our businesses delivered volume growth and we continue to invest strategically for future global growth," he added.
Gross profit grew by $3m year on year to $74.3m, as lower surfactants profits were offset by a 30% increase in performance of the polymers division, driven by sales growth in Europe and a $3.7m business interruption insurance recovery related to a 2011 fire at a plant in Germany.
Total third-quarter gross profit for the polymers division was $26.6m, while surfactant division gross profit fell by 2% year on year to $45m, and specialty products gross profit dropped 33% to $3.8m due to lower margins, the company added.
Quinn Stepan said that the slow start to the year made achieving its planned full-year earnings growth “difficult”, adding that the realisation of acquisitions and capacity expansions are expected to buoy 2014 performance.
He said: "We delivered slightly improved results in the third quarter, and we remain optimistic about our long-term growth.
“The slow start to the year has made achieving full year earnings growth difficult, but we continue to pursue investments that will accelerate our growth. In 2014 we will realise the benefits of our recent acquisition and other capacity expansions,” he added.
($1 = €0.73)
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