US Huntsman expects gradual recovery, seeks to boost prices and volume

Al Greenwood

22-Feb-2024

HOUSTON (ICIS)–Huntsman expects a gradual recovery to take hold in 2024, in which the company will attempt to pursue higher prices and recover share, the CEO said on Thursday.

So far, order patterns indicate that destocking has ended for most of Huntsman’s divisions, said Peter Huntsman, CEO. He made his comment during an earnings conference call.

Prices and sales volumes seem to be gradually improving, and Huntsman sees signs of green shoots that had been absent during the past 12-18 months, he said.

“Prices and volumes look to be gradually improving,” he said. Companywide Huntsman expects mid-single-digit growth in the first quarter versus the same time in 2023.

In North America, destocking is ending in housing and construction, he said.

In China, prospects are improving for infrastructure and automobiles, he said. Construction is having a bit of a rebound. Overall, the pickup in business following the Lunar New Year is stronger than what the company has seen in the last two to three years.

Europe will have a gradual recovery, but Huntsman still warned about the risk of de-industrialization for the region.

“We haven’t made strong cash flow out of Europe in two years,” Huntsman said “That’s unacceptable and it’s unsustainable.”

With the prospect of a recovery, Huntsman expects to recover some of the sales it had lost in 2023, he said. It will try to recover lost volumes and push for what the CEO described as much needed price increases.

Huntsman stressed that the subsequent restocking cycle will be gradual, and it will stretch out through the year. He does not expect a sudden surge in buying.

Thumbnail shows polyurethane spray foam, which is made with MDI. Image by Shutterstock.

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