Lubrizol, Afton Formulate Solid First Quarters


Afton Chemical Corp. and Lubrizols Lubricant Additives segment last week each reported strong earnings for the quarter ending March 31.

Lubrizols Lubricant Additives segment reported operating income of $101.4 million in the first quarter, up 36 percent from $74.4 million in the same period last year. That increase reflected progress in recovering higher raw material costs and other income associated with the sale of land near its Texas facilities, according to the Wickliffe, Ohio-based chemical supplier. Revenues for the Lubricant Additives segment totaled $696 million in the first quarter, up 11 percent from $627.5 million in the year-earlier period.

Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer James Hambrick said in a statement Friday, We have continued to make progress on recapturing margin lost during the unprecedented run-up in raw material costs we experienced over the last several years. We have benefited from introducing new products into our markets that deliver greater value to our customers.

Lubrizols overall net income for the first quarter reached a record $71.6 million, on revenues of $1.08 billion or $1.02 per diluted share.

On April 23, the companys board of directors authorized a new share repurchase program that, combined with its existing purchase program, permits the company to repurchase up to $300 million of its common shares, effective immediately. Although the repurchase program has no specific timetable, Lubrizol expects to accomplish the program over the next three years. For 2007, the company anticipates per-share earnings from continuing operations to grow 20 percent to 26 percent, versus last year.

Afton Chemicals performance helped boost earnings for its parent company. NewMarket Corp. said on April 24 that its petroleum additive segment posted an operating profit of $29 million for the three months ending March 31, up 13 percent from $25.7 million in thefirst quarter of 2006. Quarterly net sales for the segment reached $307.2 million, up from $299.5 million in 2006s first quarter.

NewMarket President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas Gottwald said the petroleum additives business continues to operate its plants at high rates. While many of our raw materials remain in tight supply, we are working diligently with our customers to ensure ongoing security of supply and to develop new products for their businesses, he said.

For Richmond, Va.-based NewMarket as a whole, first-quarter net income reached $16.2 million, 18 percent higher than the $13.8 million recorded in last years first quarter, on revenues of $309.8 million.Basic earnings per share increased to 94 cents, up from 80 cents per share a year earlier.

Gottwald said continuing improvements in the companys petroleum additives segment were one key reason for NewMarkets increased earnings. The improved profit is reflected across most petroleum additive product lines and includes the benefit of our progress in restoring margins on certain products through the introduction of more cost effective product solutions for our customers, as well as the benefit from price increases, which were instituted during 2006, he said.

Related Topics

Market Topics