Fuchs Profits Rise, Calumet Earnings Plummet


Fuchs Petrolub AG posted a gain in earnings for 2007s first nine months, while Calumet Specialty Products Partners LP reported a steep drop for the third quarter. Fuchs said strong growth in gross profit and slower growth in expenses helped raise its net profit for the first nine months by 21 percent compared to the same period last year. Specialty refiner Calumet pointed to lower gross profit and the rising cost of crude as underlying reasons for a 74 percent earnings decrease compared to the year-ago period.

Calumet reported net income of $9.5 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30, down from $36.1 million in the same period in 2006. Sales revenue for the quarter declined 4 percent to $428 million.

The Indianapolis-based company said that lower gross profit and steep crude oil prices hampered its performance. Gross profit was negatively impacted by a decrease in sales volume of specialty products as well as the rising cost of crude oil outpacing increases in the selling price per barrel of our specialty products, the company said.

Calumet produced less specialty products – base oils, waxes, solvents and asphalt – in the second quarter compared to the year-earlier period. Specialty products production volume declined 6 percent to 26,127 b/d from 27,790 b/d a year earlier. Base oil output declined 4 percent to 10,768 b/d and solvents production fell 7 percent to 5,294 b/d from a year earlier, while wax production rose 19 percent to 1,287 b/d.

Specialty products sales volume declined 14 percent to 22,791 barrels per day for the quarter ending Sept. 30, down from 26,380 b/d a year earlier.

Bill Grube, Calumet president and chief executive officer, said the company expects to substantially complete its Shreveport refinery capacity expansion project in the fourth quarter of 2007 and then ramp up during 2008s first quarter. Calumet expects the expansion to increase the refinerys crude oil throughput capacity 35 percent from 42,000 b/d to 57,000 b/d.

The company said it has spent $192 million in capital expenditures related to the project as of Sept. 30. The total cost estimate for the expansion is now $220 million, up $20 million from its previous estimate. This increase is primarily due to the continued escalation of material and labor costs which has been an ongoing trend in the industry, the company said.

Fuchs said Nov. 9 it posted a profit of 87.2 million (U.S. $127.9 million) for the nine months ended Sept. 30, up 21 percent from 71.8 million (U.S. $105.4 million) for the same period last year. An internal growth rate of 6 percent was the driving force for the success, the Mannheim, Germany-based lubricant supplier said in a letter to shareholders. At the same time, significant free cash flow of nearly 72 million was generated.

Sales revenues in Europe grew by 8.6 percent, and in the Asia-Pacific, Africa region by 9.8 percent, compared to 2006s first nine months. In North and South America, revenue declined by 6.5 percent compared to the year earlier period. This can be attributed primarily to reduced demand in the North American automotive industry and its supplier industries, Fuchs said. Total sales revenue for Fuchs reached more than 1 billion (U.S $1.5 billion) for the nine months ending Sept. 30, up 3 percent from the year-ago period.

Fuchs reports cumulative financial data over the course of its fiscal year, rather than by individual quarter.

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