Valvoline’s 1st Quarter: Vroom, Vroom


Valvolines operating income for the quarter ended Dec. 31 rose 36 percent from the same period a year earlier, thanks to higher sales volumes, particularly for premium products.

Parent company Ashland Inc. reported Thursday that the lubricant and car care products business recorded operating income of $15 million for the first quarter of its fiscal year, up from $11 million for the same period a year earlier. Sales revenue grew from $255 million to $281 million.

Total lubricant sales rose 2.9 percent, from 41.6 million gallons to 42.8 million, with improvement in both the do-it-yourself and do-it-for-me segments, officials said. Ashlands fiscal year ends Sept. 30.

Speaking during a conference call with stock analysts and investors, Ashland President and Chief Executive Officer James OBrien called Valvolines performance outstanding, and said it showed the fruits of a strategy to develop innovative, higher-margin products. Sales of premium products jumped 36 percent during the quarter, with sales of MaxLife – a two-year-old line of motor oils for older vehicles – growing at a 43 percent clip.

Officials said the first quarter also showed improved performance by Valvoline Instant Oil Change, the companys quick-lube chain, and by international operations. They added that Valvoline sold its remaining stocks of R-12, an automotive air-conditioning refrigerant whose production was outlawed in 1995 along with other ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons. Valvolines R-12 sales have steadily declined since then, dragging down year-to-year financial performance.

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