SK, S-Oil Profits Up, Castrol’s and Hi-Tech’s Down

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Korean refiners SK Lubricants and S-Oil posted moderateincreases in profit in their third quarters despite reduced sales revenues.Lubricant maker Castrol India Ltd. reported a 2.4 percent decline in its third quarter net profit as sales fell due to softer volume growth in its heavy-duty engine oils and marine oils segments. Pakistani lube supplier Hi-Tech Lubricants Ltd. reported a 14 percent decline in its first quarter net profit.

SK Innovation said its base oil and lubricants subsidiary, SK Lubricants, earned 117 billion won (U.S. $102 million) of operating profit in the third quarter. That represents a 41 percent growth compared to83 billion won the prior year, according to the quarterly earnings report SK released last week. But its sales revenue dropped by just shy of 10 percent to 599 billion won, from665billion wona year earlier.

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[SKs] base oil spread isprospectedto remain steady on balanced supply and demand, SK said in the report. SK Lubricants supplies API GroupIIand III base oil.Group IIrepresents one seventh of its capacity, andthe remaining share is GroupIII.

S-Oil said its lube base oilbusiness recorded 97.4billion won of operating income, up a marginal 1.9percent from95.6billion won a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter was322 billion won,down 2.2 percent from329 billion won during the same period of 2015. The Seoul-based refiner manufactures base oils but does not market finished lubricants. Its joint venture with French oil company Total,S-Oil Total Lubricants,is in charge of the production and sales of finished products.

[Our] lube base oil segment recorded [a] 30 percent operating margin thanks to increased demand for high-quality base oil products and our strong sales network, in spite of new capacity in the region, said an S-Oil official during an earnings report conference call last week.

On the outlook for S-Oils fourth quarter, he forecasted a narrowed base oil margin, noting that he expects more intense competition due to increased capacity in the Middle East and Asia.

Mumbai-based Castrol India posted a standalone net profit of approximately Rs 140 crore (Rs 1.4 billion, or around U.S. $21 million) during the July through September 2016 period, down from Rs 143 crore in the same period last year. Net sales decreased 2.8 percent year over year to Rs 759 crore during the quarter due to softer volume growth in its heavy-duty engine oils and marine oils segments.

In a press statement, Managing Director Omer Dormen said the volume growth continued year on year during the last quarter across key segments, led by personal mobility and power brands as well as strong growth in the industrial segment. However, volume growth softened in heavy-duty and marine segments during the quarter, he noted.

We witnessed softer volume in our heavy-duty segment due to heavy monsoons in some parts of the country, Dormen said. Marine segment volume dipped during the quarter due to continued pressure on the marine business globally.

On a recent conference call with analysts and investors, Dormen stated that the third quarter is usually the poorest-performing quarter of the year due to seasonality factors, but there was more pressure in July due to floods as some heavy-duty fleet operators couldnt operate their machinery. However, a strong recovery was seen during August and September, and volume grew 5 percent year on year driven by the personal mobility and industrial segments among others, he noted.

Despite contraction in the [Index of Industrial Production, an indicator of Indias short-term industrial market health] in the third quarter, the industrial business sustained its growth trajectory by winning several new customers and gaining share with existing customers with our differentiated products and service offers, Dormen said.

Castrol, which has three manufacturing plants at Patalganga, Paharpur and Silvassa, manufactures a wide range of automotive and industrial lubricants. It supplies a distribution network of over 105,000 retail outlets and business-to-business customers through over 420 distributors.

The company said that its commercial vehicle segment has seen a healthy, double-digit growth in its key brands, and it continues its focus on volume growth and investment behind its power brands, which include Edge, Magnatec, GTX, Activ and Vecton.

For the nine-month period that ended Sept. 30, Castrol posted a net profit of Rs 519 crore, up nearly 10 percent from a year ago. Net sales rose 3.3 percent year on year to Rs 2,579 crore during the period.

Castrol, which recently renewed a strategic five-year agreement with Tata Motors passenger car division, said it continues to strengthen its relationships with its key account customers.

Chief Financial Officer Rashmi Joshi said that the company expects its volume trajectory to remain robust going forward due to higher government spending and a strong uptick in vehicle sales.

Hi-Tech Lubricants Ltd.s first quarter net profit dropped 14 percent annually despite a rise in sales as total expenses, finance costs and taxes surged.

Hi-Tech posted a consolidated net profit of approximately 99 million Pakistani rupees (U.S. $944,000) in its quarter ended Sept. 30, down from Rs 115 million in the same period last year, the company said in a regulatory filing.

The company reported that its total expenses rose over 17 percent to Rs 266 million, while finance costs surged to Rs 8.6 million during the quarter from Rs 5 million. Taxes rose approximately 20 percent year on year to Rs 65 million during the period.

Consolidated net sales rose about 12 percent to Rs 1.5 billion during the July-September 2016 period, compared to Rs 1.4 billion a year earlier. Hi-Tech distributes SK Lubricants Zic brand of finished lubricants to more than 150 sellers in Pakistan.

Hi-Tech also said that Pakistans Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority on Oct. 21 granted the company a license to establish new oil marketing company. The license is valid for an initial period of three years, it noted.

The company raised about Rs 1.8 billion earlier this year through its initial public stock offering to launch a chain of retail fuel outlets in the domestic market and to install additional filling lines at its Lahore blending plant so it can the countrys industrial sector. The blending plant began commercial production on Aug. 3 and has capacity of 30,000 metric tons per year.

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