Lube Industry Yields Upbeat Financials


Stocks may be tanking and corporate losses generally mounting, but financial news from the lubricants industry was refreshingly good this week. Lubrizol and Valvoline delivered improved earnings for the most recent quarter, while Quaker Chemical said that it is recovering from the recession.

Lubrizol Corp. reported that consolidated earnings for the second quarter increased from $32 million, or 63 cents per share, to $34.5 million, or 67 cents per share. Revenues for the period ended June 30 rose 4 percent, thanks mostly to acquisitions and the first quarter consolidation of Lubrizols joint venture in India.

The Wickliffe, Ohio, additive company said its fluid technologies for transportation segment had higher sales and reduced costs. The fluid technologies for industry segment benefited from those same trends, plus better-than-expected results from recently acquired Chemron Corp.

We are pleased with the results for the quarter, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer W.G. Bares said, adding that they exceeded the companys own initial projections. He predicted that Lubrizol will earn between $2 and $2.15 per share for the year, compared to $1.84 per share in 2001.

Ashland Inc. said that operating income from its Valvoline subsidiary rose 14 percent to $25 million. Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Paul W. Chellgren cited robust sales of premium products, such as MaxLife motor oil for older vehicles, strong results from Valvoline Instant Oil Change and improved international operations.

Valvolines performance reflects healthy fundamentals in our core lubricants business, he said.

Valvolines sales for the period ended June 30 were $305 million, up from $276 million a year earlier. In terms of volume, sales grew from 44.7 million gallons to 53.1 million gallons.

Quaker Chemical Corp. reported that its second quarter earnings slid from $4.1 million, or 45 cents per share, to $3.2 million, or 35 cent per share. It noted, however, that the latter results represented a 35 percent improvement over the first quarter, which yielded 26 cents per share.

The Conshohocken, Pa., company, which provides chemical specialties and chemical management services primarily to the steel and automotive industries, said sales grew from $59.9 million to $69.5 million. Of that increase, $4.4 million was due to the acquisitions of United Lubricants and Epmar.

Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Ronald J. Naples said Quaker is recovering from the effects of a slowdown in its customer industries.

In March we began to see a pickup in our business activity, which has continued at improved levels in the second quarter, he said. He added that the company expects growth over prior year earnings beginning with the third quarter, based on assumptions that overall industrial production and Quakers market share will both grow.

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