Lubrizol Wraps a Bow around 2002


The Lubrizol Corp. announced yesterday that earnings per share increased 20 percent in the fourth quarter of 2002 vs. the fourth quarter of 2001. Revenues for the quarter totaled $498 million, a 13 percent increase over the fourth quarter 2001.

The Wickliffe, Ohio-based additives giant attributed its fourth-quarter earnings growth to strong shipment volume and an unusually low tax rate, partially offset by higher operating expenses. Total shipment volume increased 16 percent over the fourth quarter of 2001, the company reported. Excluding acquisitions and the consolidation of Lubrizols Indian joint venture, revenues increased 6 percent and shipment volume increased 5 percent.

Consolidated revenues of $1.98 billion for full-year 2002 were 8 percent higher than the 2001 total of $1.84 billion. After a required accounting change, earnings for 2002 were $118.5 million, or $2.30 per share for the year, compared to $1.84 per share for 2001.

A company spokesman explained that the tax rate will be 35 percent in 2003, up from 30 percent in 2002, when a technology donation provided the tax benefit. He denied that fourth-quarter improvements were the result of customers buying ahead of Lubrizols 3 percent price increases,which were introduced Dec. 1 in the United States and are being introduced in the rest of the world in the current quarter.

In Lubrizols fluid technologies for transportation segment, revenues of $388 million for the fourth quarter were up 7 percent on volume gains of 7 percent, compared to the fourth quarter of 2001. Shipment volumes increased in all four geographic zones. Full-year transportation segment revenues were $1.58 billion, an increase of 4 percent over 2001. The segments contribution to income for 2002 was $312 million.

Revenues in the fluid technologies for industry segment for the quarter were $103 million, a 45 increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2001; without acquisitions, revenues grew 18 percent. Segment profitability also grew significantly, the company reported. Industrial segment contribution to income for the quarter increased 63 percent compared to the prior year period,to $17 million. Over 40 percent of the increase was from internal growth and cost reduction, and the remainder was split between acquisitions and an accounting change. Industrial segment revenues for the full year were $382 million, up from $300 million in 2001. Segment contribution to income for 2002 was $70 million.

Lubrizols other business segment, including fluid metering equipment, emission control devices and PuriNOx low-emissions diesel fuel, reported total revenues of $7 million for the quarter and $26 million for the year, an increase of 7 percent over full-year 2001 results. This segment lost $3 million in the fourth quarter and $10 million for the year.

I am delighted with the outstanding earnings increase in the difficult economy of 2002,” Lubrizol Chairman and CEO W.G. Bares commented. “The solid improvement in earnings over the fourth quarter of 2001 was driven primarily by higher [transportation segment] shipment volume and acquisitions and organic growth in [the industrial segment].

Bares continued, As we expected, material costs for the fourth quarter were at their highest levels of 2002. In response to the rapidly rising raw material costs in the second half of the year, we raised [transportation segment] prices in North America last year and in the rest of the world in January of this year.

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