LyondellBasell Q1 net income up 23% on lower costs, higher volumes

Author: Tom Brown

2015/04/24

LONDON (ICIS)--LyondellBasell’s net income for the first quarter of 2015 jumped 23% year on year to $1.16bn, driven by lower costs and higher volumes for its olefins and polyolefins (O&P) operations, the Netherlands-incorporated producer said on Friday.

Lower costs helped to offset lower polyolefins prices during the quarter, which saw group sales fall 26% year on year to $8.19bn, the company added. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by $284m year on year to $1.95bn, LyondellBasell added.

The first quarter of 2015 continued at a pace that made 2014 a record year… we achieved these strong results in a market in which crude oil price declines pressured product prices,” said LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel.

“However, the abundance of low cost natural gas-based raw materials, supply and demand tightness in several products, and our flexible portfolio provided balance to offset the impact of lower prices,” he added.

O&P Americas operating income increased 42% year on year to $934m despite a 13 cent per pound year on year fall in the price of ethylene, offset by lower production costs, Lyondell said.

O&P operating income for Europe, Asia and the rest of the world ticked up slightly from $225m in the first quarter of 2014 to $236m during the same period this year on stronger polyethylene volumes.

Intermediates and derivatives division operating income dropped $45m year on year despite unchanged propylene oxide and derivative results due to inventory revaluations. Refining division operating income dropped 10% to $74m on the back of declining crude oil throughput as prices stayed below the highs of early 2014.

Strong performance continued into the beginning of the second quarter, Patel added.

He said: “During the first few weeks of April, business conditions within our olefins and polyolefins segments have been relatively consistent with the first quarter.

“Planned and unplanned industry downtime has continued to support polyolefins pricing.  Additionally, in the US, NGL feedstock inventories stand at or near record levels, production has remained strong, and NGL prices are low,” Patel added.