Valvoline Income Droops Again


Valvolines profit for fiscal 2005 fell 14 percent from a year ago due to a combination of slower lubricant sales and higher raw material costs, parent company Ashland Inc. reported Monday in a preliminary year-end statement.

The automotive consumer products marketer posted operating income of$90 million for the 12 months ended Sept. 30, down from $105 million for its fiscal 2004. Total sales revenue rose a modest 2.2 percent to $1.3 billion, but sales volumes for the companys core lubricants business dropped 8.5 percent to 175.4 million gallons. Sales of premium products, as a portion of overall U.S. volumes, rose from 21.5 percent to 23.4 percent.

Fourth-quarter performance was proportionately worse than the year as a whole. Valvolinesoperating incomefor the final three months of the fiscal year slid 30 percent from the September quarter of a year ago, to $21 million. Lubricant sales volumes for the period were down 13 percent, including a 17-percent decline in North American branded volume.

Valvolines earnings have now fallen year-to-year for four of the past five quarters – the exception being the second quarter of 2005, when income was essentially flat. Based in Lexington, Ky., Valvoline is one of the worlds two largest independent lubricant suppliers. The other is Fuchs Petrolub AG, of Mannheim, Germany.

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