Calumet Specialty Product Partners L.P. reported a net loss of $4.8 million for the quarter ending March 31, improving from a $6.2 million net loss in 2017s first quarter.
The Indianapolis-based companys first quarter sales declined 15.3 percent to $750.5 million, down from $886.5 million.
Continued strength in our branded products division, coupled with solid execution against our self-help initiatives, have allowed Calumet to continue the positive momentum we established over the last six quarters, Calumet CEO Tim Go said in its earnings news release.
Go noted the company was able to increase its gross profit per barrel in both its specialty and fuels segments, despite heavy turnaround and maintenance activity at a few of its facilities and the continued upward trajectory of crude prices. He explained in an earnings conference call that self-help refers to structural improvements the company is making to its business that are sustainable.
Go also provided an update on its acquisition, announced in April, of Biosynthetic Technologies LLC, a startup that converts sustainable plant oils into synthetic base stocks using proprietary technology. This deal was completed in partnership with The Heritage Group, a privately held portfolio of several companies. The Heritage Group and its affiliates own a controlling interest in Calumet Specialty Products Partners, L.P.
The partners intend to explore a range of alternatives to maximize the value of the acquired estolides technology, Go stated. This could include internal or external licensing or the sale of the technology for applications across a diverse portfolio of products and solutions in a variety of end-markets. One of the first potential uses of this proprietary technology is commercial production of renewable esters at our Missouri plant. The company has an existing esters manufacturing facility there.
Go said in the companys earnings conference call, our esters plant is capable of manufacturing a portion of the Biosynthetic product slate now. And as we identify additional opportunities, we will consider expanding our capabilities further.
First-quarter specialty product sales volumes declined to 23,398 barrels per day, down from 28,596 b/d in the year-earlier quarter. Lubricating oils reached 10,031 b/d, down from 15,160 b/d a year earlier. Packaged and synthetic specialty products – include production at the companys Royal Purple, Bel-Ray, Calumet Packaging and Missouri facilities – amounted to 2,438 b/d, down from 2,566 b/d. Other first-quarter 2018 totals included 1,239 b/d of waxes, down from 1,477 a year earlier; and 7,984 b/d of solvents, up from 7,345 b/d.