Q4 Update: Valvoline, S-Oil, Hydrodec


Ashlands Valvoline business posted increases in operating income and sales for the quarter ending Dec. 31, while base oil refiner S-Oil reported a strong increase in operating income and a slight decline in sales, compared to year-earlier results. Last year brought improved sales revenues and volumes for transformer oil rerefiner Hydrodec, compared to 2012.


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Ashland Consumer Markets (Valvoline) posted operating income of $75 million during the companys first fiscal quarter, which ended Dec. 31, 2013, up 13.6 percent from the year-earlier period. Sales reached $486 million, up slightly from $481 million in the corresponding quarter of 2012.

In its earnings news release, Ashland said total lubricant volumes increased 4 percent from the year-ago quarter, with particular strength internationally, where volumes rose 10 percent. On the quick lube front, company-owned, same-store sales at Valvoline Instant Oil Change grew 4.7 percent year-over-year, driven by increased oil changes per day, average ticket price and total number of oil changes. The segments do-it-yourself business reported continued improvement in product mix, with premium lubricant sales increasing 5 percent versus the year-earlier period.

Across all segments, Covington, Ky.-based Ashland reported sales of $1.9 billion and operating income of $179 million for the quarter.

Ashland also outlined its plan to restructure the company following the planned sale of its water technologies unit, to have three commercial units: Specialty Ingredients, Performance Materials and Valvoline. With Valvoline, the restructuring plan is focused on reducing costs and improving margins, the company said. Ashlands global supply chain, currently centralized, will be integrated into each of the commercial units.

As part of its restructuring, Ashland said approximately 800 to 1,000 employees are expected to leave the company in calendar 2014 as Ashland realigns its cost structure to be competitive. The company plans to move an additional 800 to 1,000 jobs to existing, lower-cost regional centers of excellence both in the U.S. and abroad in conjunction with a planned global office consolidation.


S-Oils lube segment reported fourth-quarter operating income of 51.7 billion won (U.S. $47.7 million), up 95 percent from 26.5 billion won in the year-earlier period. For all of 2013, the segments operating income reached 155.6 billion won, down 114.5 percent from 333.7 billion won for 2012.

Fourth quarter revenue topped 471 billion won, down 1.5 percent from 478.2 billion won in 2012s fourth quarter. For all of 2013, sales reached almost 1.8 trillion won, down from 2.3 trillion won for 2012.

S-Oils Onsan, South Korea, refinery has 16,200 b/d API Group III, 21,800 b/d of Group II and 500 b/d of Group I capacity.


Transformer oil rerefinery Hydrodec had $39.7 million in revenue for the full year, up 52 percent from $26.1 million in 2012. The growth was driven by a 9 percent increase from its core rerefining business to $28 million in sales during 2013.

The company said it increased sales volumes of its Superfine transformer oil by 22 percent to 25.2 million liters in 2013.

Gross unit margins in the rerefining business are expected to be significantly higher than the previous year, Hydrodec said in its year-end 2013 trading update, despite lower product sales prices, driven by better feedstock acquisition, volume impacts and tight cost control.

The company continues to assess damage from a fire at its Canton, Ohio, transformer oil rerefinery on Dec. 1 last year. Completed in 2008, the plant has capacity to recycle around 8 million gallons of transformer oil per year. The Hydrodec board and partners G&S have reconfirmed the commitment to expand Canton, adding 50 percent to pre-incident capacity by the end of 2014 through a combination of repair, replacement and expansion, the company noted.

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