1Q Bright for SK, Tough for Calumet


Calumet Specialty Products reported increased revenue but a net loss for the quarter ending March 31, while SK Lubricants posted rises in operating income and sales, compared to year-earlier results.

Independent refiner Calumet Specialty Products LP reported a $13.1 million net loss for the first quarter, down from net income of $75.6 million in the year-earlier period. First quarter sales revenue rose 17 percent to $484.6 million, compared to 2009s first quarter.

Indianapolis-headquartered Calumet attributed the loss partly to a $47.3 million decrease in gross profit, which was primarily due to increasing crude oil prices during the first quarter of 2010 as compared to the significant decline in crude oil prices in the first quarter of 2009, the refiner noted.

Calumets total specialty products segment sales volume reached 27,278 barrels per day in the first quarter, up 10.9 percent from 24,589 b/d in the year-earlier quarter. That increase was primarily driven by lubricating oils and solvents sales volume due to the improving economic conditions and from our specialty products agreements with LyondellBasell, which were effective in November 2009, the company stated.

LyondellBasell switched its naphthenic base oil and white oil marketing contracts to Calumet in early November 2009 after a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York gave LyondellBasell permission to end its existing contracts with Nynas Naphthenics and Schumann Steier.

Calumets production of specialty products – base oils, waxes, solvents and asphalts – decreased slightly in the first quarter, compared to the year-earlier period. In the first quarter, base oil output edged down 3 percent to 11,279 b/d, solvents declined 2 percent to 8,070 b/d, and wax production slid 8 percent to 1,009 b/d.

We chose to operate our facilities at reduced rates during the first quarter of 2010 due to weak refining crack spreads, said Calumet CEO and President Bill Grube. We have seen a continued increase in demand for our specialty products and expect to increase production rates at all of our facilities during the second quarter in order to satisfy this demand.

SK Lubricants reported an operating profit of 50.7 billion South Korean won (U.S. $44.6 million) for the first quarter, compared to a 7.7 billion won loss in 2009s first quarter. Sales for SK Lubricants, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Seoul-based SK Energy, reached 410.3 billion won for the quarter, up 54 percent from 267 billion won in the year-earlier period.

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