Q3 Update: Valvoline, Fuchs, Chemtura


Ashlands Valvoline business posted slight decreases in operating income and sales for the quarter ending Sept. 30, while Fuchs Petrolub posted mixed results, and Chemturas petroleum additives segment reported increases, compared to year-earlier numbers.

Operating income for Ashland Consumer Markets (Valvoline) during the companys fourth fiscal quarter – which ended Sept. 30 – was $73 million, having turned slightly south from $74 million recorded on the same date last year. The company also reported a 2.7 percent drop in sales to $508 million against the 2012 final quarter figure of $522 million.

Lubricant sales volumes crept up by about one percent to 40.8 million gallons this quarter over 40.5 in the corresponding quarter of 2012. Ashland Consumer Markets reported a strong quarter, CEO James J. OBrien said in the companys earnings news release. Growth in the do-it-for-me channels and international business offset declines in the do-it-yourself business.

For its fiscal year ending Sept. 30, Ashland Consumer Markets posted operating income of $295 million, up 25 percent from $236 million in 2012. The business units sales for 2013 reached $2 billion, virtually unchanged from the previous fiscal year.

Across all segments, Covington, Ky.-based Ashland reported sales of $1.9 billion for the quarter and $7.8 billion for the companys 2013 fiscal year. Ashlands fourth quarter operating income came in at $650 million, resulting in a fiscal year amount of $1.2 billion.

Fuchs Petrolub
Fuchs Petrolub Group reported sales revenues of 468.7 million (U.S. $631.3 million) in the third quarter of this year, down marginally from 469.2 in the prior-years third quarter. Net income, however, rose 5.6 percent for the Mannheim, Germany-headquartered independent lubricant blender, to 58 million.

Fuchs noted several key growth areas such as North and South America and China, but pointed to the lesser value of local currencies compared to the euro. Sales in the regions of Australia, South Africa, Brazil, and China, for example, showed positive growth, but profit was offset by currency translation effects.

Overall, the company reported slight dips in sales revenues across two of its three regional divisions, with North and South America coming in this quarter at 80 million and Asia Pacific and Africa at 122.5 million. The company saw a marginal increase in Europe, however, where a one percent uptick from the year-earlier number resulted in a figure of 286.1. The 488.6 million sum in sales revenue, however, was pulled down by 19.9 million in consolidation costs.

Lubricant demand in the mature markets of the United States, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and Spain stabilized in the second third of 2013 following a weak start to the year, Fuchs stated in its interim management report for the first three quarters of 2013. However, growth recorded in these markets slowed down slightly in the last months. For the year as a whole, we therefore expect the global lubricant market to stagnate at the level of 2012.

Philadelphia-based Chemturas petroleum additives segment posted $168 million in net sales for the second quarter, up 16.7 percent from $144 million in the year earlier quarter.

Sales volume improvements in our petroleum additives and certain synthetic lubricant products, due to a higher demand than a year ago, offset some decline in urethane product sales volume, which continues to be affected by weak demand in mining and electronic applications across all regions, Chemtura stated in its earnings news release. The benefit of the increased sales volumes was diluted by product mix coupled with some raw material increases. The company said it recorded $2 million of unabsorbed costs related to the initial start-up of its new grease plant in Nantong, China, and its new polyalphaolefin plant in Ankerweg, Netherlands.

Chemturas Industrial Performance Products net sales increased 10.5 percent to $242 million, up from $219 million in 2012s third quarter. The segments second quarter operating income declined 14.3 percent to $24 million in the third quarter of 2013.

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