Chemical companies report strong Q4 results

2010 was a remarkable year for chemical company profitability. Back in Q1, BASF’s Jürgen Hambrecht suggested that “the worst is behind us, even though dark clouds remain“. Results continued to improve in Q2, with Sinopec highlighting the importance of “state stimulus measures” in China. And by Q3, Dow were seeing “a sustained global recovery led by Asia“.

Now, the blog’s regular look at quarterly company results shows that confidence continued to rise in Q4, with SABIC reporting a “strong operating performance“. As in 2007/H1 2008, higher raw material prices seem to have been passed through with few problems, with only downstream consumers, such as AkzoNobel, feeling any pain from this exercise.

Hopefully, today’s confidence will continue through 2011. But if crude prices remain at current levels, the blog would be astonished if “the dark clouds” do not return before too long.

AkzoNobel. “Western and northern Europe experienced challenging market conditions due to low consumer confidence, a weak construction and renovation industry and lower trade demand.”
Arkema. “”Significant price increases passed-on higher raw material costs”.
Asahi Kasei. “Market prices of acrylonitrile and adipic acid remained high on strong Asian demand”.
BASF. “Strong improvement in income from operations in the segment thanks to increased margins, especially for basic products, and higher volumes.”
Bayer. “MaterialScience returned nearly to pre-crisis levels more quickly than expected, but CropScience and HealthCare were below expectations”.
BP. “Expect the petrochemicals environment to remain robust”.
Brenntag. “Continuation of the positive trends in the chemical distribution industry”.
Celanese. “Record full-year earnings in consumer specialties, advanced engineered materials and industrial specialties”.
Clariant. “Solid underlying demand for their products and services.”
ConocoPhillips. “Benefited from significantly improved ethylene margins”.
Croda. “Demand was strong in all business areas and across all major geographies.”
Cytec. “Segment results were varied. Raw material volatility remains a concern.”
Dow. “With inflation concerns in emerging geographies, lingering unemployment issues in the US and sovereign debt issues in Europe, we remain prepared for a reversal in momentum”.
Dow Corning. “Rising raw material and energy prices will present us with some additional challenges in 2011″.
DSM. “Expects end-markets to show continued growth this year, driven by the recovery in global economies.”
DuPont. “Q4 was a strong finish to an outstanding year”.
Eastman. “Strengthened end-use demand in packaging and durable goods”.
ExxonMobil. “The biggest impact was the rapid rise in feedstock costs that really outpaced price increases.”Georgia Gulf. “Strong export volumes in chlorovinyls and aromatics”.
Honeywell. “Confident in our outlook for higher revenues, and 20% plus earnings growth in 2011.”
Huntsman. “Capacity utilisation rates were improving.”
INEOS. “Demand has continued to be firm”.
Johnson Matthey. “Particularly good growth in methanol catalysts”>
Lubrizol. “Volumes in line with our historical quarterly volume trends.”
LyondellBasell. “Improved worldwide demand and industry supply disruptions contributed to the improved results.”
Methanex. “Market conditions were tight as demand was strong and there were a number of planned and unplanned outages.”
Mitsui. “Increased demand for automotive parts and electronics from China.”
Mitsubishi. “Improvement in price variance between feestocks and products”.
Nalco. “Sales were driven by a recovery of the global economy and our differential investment in growth regions”>
Olin. “Buoyant pricing and higher volumes”.
OMV. “Hit by depressed olefin margins.”
Orlen. “Oil prices rose and margins widened”.
Oxychem. “Results reflected improved market condition, particularly for exports, driven by favourable North American feedstock costs.”
Polimeri Europa. “High supply costs of oil-based feedstock were not fully recovered in sale prices”.
Praxair. “Sales increased across all regions on the back of growth in electronics, manufacturing, energy and metals markets.”
PTT. “Improved demand for purified terephthalic acid (PTA) from the US and China.”
Rhodia. “achieved a breakthrough step-up in profitability.”
SABIC. “Higher sales prices for most of its products as well as a strong operating performance”.
Shell. “Improving industry fundamentals, production growth and cost performance”.
Solutia. “Significant top-line growth and industry-leading margins.”
Solvay. “strong demand, particularly in Asia.”
Stolt-Nielsen. “Strong performance from tank containers business. 2011 to be another challenging year for tankers.”
Sumitomo. “Improved market conditions and increased sales”.
Wacker. “Earnings growth was largely the result of higher sales volumes and revenues, as well as increased plant utilization.”
Westlake. “US PVC industry has become globally competitive.”

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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