Q1 Earnings Results Mixed


Ashlands Valvoline division and lubricant supplier Quaker Chemical each reported increased profits and decreased sales for the quarter ending March 31, compared to the year-earlier quarter. Meanwhile, profits dipped at NewMarkets Afton Chemical additives subsidiary and declined sharply at South Koreas SK Lubricants.

Afton Chemical
Afton Chemical turned a $102 million operating profit during 2013s first quarter, down 4.9 percent from $107.2 million in the year-earlier period.

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The petroleum additives segment recorded $558.4 million in revenue for the quarter, up slightly from $557.7 million in 2012s first quarter.

NewMarket President and CEO Thomas Gottwald said the company continues to increase its investment in research and development for its petroleum additives business. The long-term fundamentals of our petroleum additives business are solid, Gottwald said.

Richmond, Va.-based NewMarket reported $67.8 million in overall net income or $5.07 per diluted share in the first quarter, up 2 percent from $66.5 million in net income, or $4.96 per share, in the year-ago period.

Ashland said its Consumer Markets (Valvoline) business reported operating income of $79 million for the quarter ending March 31, up almost 39 percent from $57 million in the year-earlier period, while sales reached $494 million, down 5 percent from the year before.

According to parent company Ashland, lubricant sales volume reached 39.2 million gallons for the quarter, down 3.7 percent from the year-earlier quarter. The quarter ending March 31 is the second quarter of Ashlands fiscal year.

Ashland Consumer Markets reported record second-quarter income driven by lower raw material costs and improved results across nearly every segment of the business, with particularly strong results in Valvoline Instant Oil Change and in Valvolines international business, Ashland stated in its quarterly earnings release.

As a whole, Covington, Ky.-based Ashland posted operating income of $205 million on revenues of $2 billion.

SK Lubricants
SK Lubricants first-quarter operating profit dropped to 7.6 billion won (U.S. $6.9 million) from 110.1 billion won a year earlier, a 93.1 percent decline. Sales declined to 628.4 billion won ($569.4 million) from 720.7 billion won, down 12.8 percent.

API Group III base oil prices continue to show weakness owing to lackluster base oil demand, SK concluded in its quarterly earnings presentation. It did note a slight increase in margins for finished lubricants.

SK operates a 21,000 barrel per day Group II and Group III base oil refinery in Ulsan, South Korea. The SK-Pertamina joint venture plant in Dumai, Indonesia, of which SK owns a 65 percent share, has about 7,000 b/d of Group III capacity.

SK Innovation and JX Nippon Oil & Energy built a 26,000 b/d joint venture base oil plant, which started up in May 2012 at SKs Ulsan complex. According to SK Lubricants, net production only increased by 10,000 b/d as SKs oldest Group III plant went offline. SK Lubricants is partnering with Repsol YPF on a new 13,000 b/d Group II/III base oil plant at Repsols Cartagena, Spain, refinery. It is scheduled to begin production in 2014.

Quaker Chemical
Conshohocken, Pa.-based Quaker Chemical posted net income of $14.2 million for the first quarter, up 8.4 percent from $13.1 million in 2012s first quarter.

Net sales for Quaker were $176.2 million in 2013s first quarter, down slightly from $177.7 million in the year-earlier quarter.

Our market share gains and acquisitions have helped us to have relatively stable volumes and revenues despite weak conditions in numerous parts of the world, especially in Europe, said Michael Barry, chairman, chief executive officer and president of Quaker Chemical. Going forward, we believe we will continue to face challenging market conditions around the world, with Europe continuing to be the most pronounced.

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