Valvoline Profits Up


Ashland reported operating income of $92 million for its Valvoline segment during the quarter that ended Dec. 31, up 10.8 percent year to year.

Sales reached $456 million, down 7.3 percent from $492 million. In its earnings news release, the company said the sales decline was primarily as a result of pass-through pricing from lower raw-material costs and currency headwinds.

Ashland said total lubricant volumes for Valvoline grew 4 percent from the year-ago quarter.

Within the do-it-yourself channel, volume was largely flat, although mix improved due to promotions with a number of key customers. With Valvolines international channel, volume grew 8 percent, driven by channel building efforts.

At Valvoline Instant Oil Change, same-store sales rose nearly 6 percent at company-owned sites, compared to a year ago.

Across all segments, Covington, Ky.-based Ashland reported sales of $1.2 billion and operating income of $151 million for the quarter.

In late September, Ashland announced plans to spin off Valvoline. Earlier this month, one large shareholder called on Ashland to scuttle that strategy. New York City-based Elmrox Investment Group, which claims to be one of Ashlands 10 largest shareholders, said shareholders would reap better returns if Ashland instead sought a buyer for its specialty chemicals unit, according to media reports.

Ashland officials showed no signs of deviating from their plan. Over the past four months, we have worked as one team to prepare these two strong, but distinctly different, business platforms for success as independent, publicly traded companies, Ashland Chairman and CEO William Wulfsohn said in an update in the companys quarterly earnings news release. He reiterated that, Valvoline will continue expanding its network of Valvoline Instant Oil Change stores, pursuing opportunities to capture new market share by leveraging the Valvoline brand across multiple channels and growing its international presence.

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Business    Earnings    Finished Lubricants