4Q: Quaker Rebounds, Holly Slumps


Strong steel industry demand in key countries boosted Quaker Chemicals net income in 2009s fourth quarter, while reduced refinery gross margins depressed refiner Hollys net income, compared to the year-ago quarter.

Quaker Chemical posted $8.4 million net income in 2009s fourth quarter, compared to a $2.7 million loss in 2008. The companys net sales reached $131.7 million in 2009s fourth quarter, up almost 13 percent from the year-ago quarter.

For the full year 2009, net sales added up to $451.5 million, down 22.4 percent from $581.6 million in 2008. The companys net income for 2009 reached $17.5 million, up 46 percent from $12 million in 2008.

During 2009, we generated record operating cash flows and paid down more than one-quarter of our debt, Quaker Chemical Chairman, CEO and President Michael Barry said. We are a financially stronger company today than when we entered into the global crisis, and we believe we are in a better competitive position as well.

The Conshohocken, Pa.-based company stated that the increase in net sales was primarily due to volume increases in all of Quakers regions, as it began to recover from the global economic downturn. Volumes increased 12 percent in the fourth quarter, compared to volumes in 2008s fourth quarter.

A large driver of the sequential improvement in our profitability was the strong steel industry demand in China, Brazil and India, Barry continued. Steel and auto volumes, while gradually recovering, remain depressed in North America and Europe, and profitability, while improved from the prior year loss, is not where we need it be longer term.

Mixed Results for Holly
Dallas-based Holly Corp. reported a fourth quarter 2009 net loss of $40.6 million, compared to a $50.6 million net profit in the year-ago quarter. For the full year 2009, Holly posted a net income of $19.5 million, down 84 percent from $120.6 million in 2008. The refiner attributed the decreases principally due to industry-wide, significantly reduced refinery gross margins in 2009s fourth quartered, compared to 2008s fourth quarter.

Holly entered the lubricants market in June 2009 by buying Sunocos Tulsa, Okla., refinery, including its 9,500 barrel per day API Group I base oil plant, for $65 million.

Although Tulsa benefited from strong per barrel margins attributable to our specialty lubricants, seasonally low demand for these products allowed only a minor offset to depressed fuel cracks, Holly chairman and CEO Matthew Clifton noted. In addition, production was reduced at our Tulsa facility in November during a low margin environment to address a maintenance issue that was adversely affecting our lubes production, in anticipation of normally higher demand in the spring season.

Refining margins were especially squeezed in markets served by our Navajo and Tulsa refineries, where overall margins came in at less than $3 per barrel, Clifton continued. In the fourth quarter, rising crude prices and seasonally lower demand resulted in substantially lower gasoline cracks versus third quarter levels, swinging profitable third quarter refining results to a fourth quarter result.

Sales and other revenues reached almost $1.7 billion in the fourth quarter, up 80.4 percent from the year-ago period.

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