Fuchs, Calumet Post Healthy Gains


Fuchs Petrolub AG and Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP both posted healthy gains in first quarter earnings last week. Fuchs reported that broad sales growth helped raise its net profit 48 percent compared to the first quarter of 2005. Calumet netted $3.5 million after recording a small loss during the year-ago period.

Fuchs said May 9 that it had a profit of 19.4 million (U.S. $24.9 million) for the three months ended March 31, compared to 13.1 million for the same period of 2005. Officials suggested that the year-to-year comparison may have been somewhat deceptive because the first quarter of 2005 was relatively weak.

[E]arnings in the first quarter of 2005 were weaker than the following quarters, due, among other things to the timing of the Easter holidays, said Stefan Fuchs, chairman of the companys executive board.

Nevertheless, the Mannheim, Germany-based lubricant supplier added that it did achieve solid sales growth while restraining cost increases for administration, distribution and development. Sales revenues in Europe, the Americas and Asia-Pacific and Africa all grew between 21 percent and 26 percent. Total sales revenue was 332.7 million, an increase of 21 percent from the year-ago period.

The company noted that raw material costs have continued rising at a rapid pace this year, and it predicted that its pace of growth will slow with each quarter the rest of this year.

Calumet said it had net income of $3.5 million for the first quarter, after recording a loss of $100,000 during the first three months of 2005. The company said it benefited from better margins for specialty products and fuels, which more than offset higher transportation costs. Sales revenue grew 73 percent to $398 million.

Much of the increase came from ramped-up fuel sales, which jumped 60 percent to 25,273 barrels per day after a major project added fuels production to the companys refinery in Shreveport, La. Calumet also churned out more specialty products – base oils, waxes, solvents and asphalt – in this years first quarter. Base oil output climbed 16 percent to 11,695 b/d.

The Indianapolis-based company conducted its initial public stock offering in January, and officials said they are pleased with its progress.

We have followed up our performance in the fourth quarter of 2005 with another strong quarter to start 2006, President and Chief Executive Officer Bill Grube said. These results are ahead of budget and provide us further confidence in executing our business plan.

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