Westlake reports record earnings after spree of acquisitions

Westlake reports record earnings after spree of acquisitions

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Westlake Corp. said its earnings soared to new highs after a spree of acquisitions expanded its revenue base in a time when demand for its products are high, said Houstonchronicle.

The Houston chemical and materials company said its revenues jumped 57 percent during the second quarter to a record USD4.5 billion from USD2.9 billion in the prior year period. It also reported a record USD858 million profit, up 64 percent compared to USD522 million last year.

"We are pleased to deliver another quarter of record results driven by Westlake's strategic market position, which has expanded over the past year with acquisitions that increased our reach into new markets and products while solidifying our ability to capture market value,” said Westlake’s CEO Albert Chao.

High demand lifted prices for chemicals and materials — up 32 percent compared to last year — more than compensating for rising costs for raw materials, energy and shipping, boosting Westlake’s bottom line.

Chao said the company also benefited from a strong residential construction and remodeling market that supported high demand for polyvinyl chloride, or PVC.

We remind, Westlake’s Q1 sales rose 72.1% year on year and net income more than tripled on strong demand and higher prices and margins. Significantly higher sales prices and margins across most of Westlake’s businesses, as well as contributions from recently acquired businesses, drove the Q1 results, it said. Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) rose 135% to USD1.3bn and the EBITDA margin rose to 32% from 23% in Q1 2021.
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Synthomer profit hit as Covid-driven demand for nitrile gloves eases

Synthomer profit hit as Covid-driven demand for nitrile gloves eases

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Synthomer PLC shares tumbled as its half-year was hit by soft demand for nitrile gloves, after a record performance the year before, said the company.

The Essex-based chemicals maker said pretax profit in the first half dropped 55% to GBP115.5 million from GBP254.4 million a year before. Shares in Synthomer were 11% lower at 209.64 pence each in London on Tuesday morning. This was despite growth in revenue, which was 8.5% higher at GBP1.22 billion compared to GBP1.23 billion.

The decline in profit was mostly due to the outperformance in the firm's Performance Elastomers division in the year before. "Around the world, the exceptional demand for [nitrile butadiene rubber] gloves during the Covid-19 pandemic resulted in a record performance last year. Current destocking has meant that demand has softened substantially, resulting in lower nitrile volumes, revenues and [earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation]," the company explained.

NBR is frequently used in latex and surgical gloves. Operating profit dropped 87% to GBP27.8 million for the PE division. Profit growth was seen across all other divisions compared to 2021, however. Ebitda of GBP173.1 million trailed behind GBP322.7 million the year before, but compared favourably with GBP100.2 million and GBP99.7 million in 2020 and 2019 respectively, the firm noted. Synthomer proposed an interim dividend of 4.0p, down year-on-year from 8.7p.

As per MRC, Eastman has completed the previously announced sale of its adhesives resins business to UK-based Synthomer for USD1bn in cash. The sale included the hydrocarbon resins (including Eastman Impera tyre resins), pure monomer resins, polyolefin polymers, rosins and dispersions, and oleochemical and fatty-acid based resins product lines. All of these businesses were previously part of Eastman's Additives & Functional Products segment.
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Enterprise, Oxy plan CO2 project along Texas Gulf Coast

Enterprise, Oxy plan CO2 project along Texas Gulf Coast

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Enterprise Product Partners and Occidental Petroleum plan to forge a carbon dioxide sequestration and transportation system that could sell carbon management services to emitters along the Texas Gulf Coast, they said in a statement, said the company.

They plan to combine the pipeline company’s transportation network with carbon sequestration hubs under development by Oxy, an oil producer expanding into the carbon management business. The idea is to focus initially on capturing emissions along the industrial corridor from Houston to Beaumont and Port Arthur.

“For many years, Enterprise and Oxy have successfully collaborated in developing traditional oil and gas projects," Enterprise co-CEO Jim Teague said, “We are excited to evolve that relationship." Oxy announced plans last month to spend up to USD1 billion on a facility that could remove 500,000 tons of carbon dioxide directly from the air. It would be the world’s largest direct air capture project.

The energy transition is driving interest in carbon capture projects, which are on track to increase tenfold by 2030, Norwegian energy consultancy Rystad Energy said Tuesday. Still, it said the planned influx is not aggressive enough — planned carbon capture capacity falls short of what is needed to meet the International Energy Agency’s net-zero scenario.

We remind, Enterprise Products Operating LLC, a subsidiary of Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (EPD), and Oxy Low Carbon Ventures, LLC (OLCV), a subsidiary of Occidental (OXY), have announced they have executed a letter of intent to work toward a potential carbon dioxide (CO2) transportation and sequestration solution for the Texas Gulf Coast. The joint project would initially be focused on providing services to emitters in the industrial corridors from the greater Houston to Beaumont/Port Arthur areas. The initiative would combine Enterprise’s leadership position in the midstream energy sector with OLCV’s extensive experience in subsurface characterization and CO2 sequestration.
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BP boosts returns as oil refining and trading drive profit beat

BP boosts returns as oil refining and trading drive profit beat

MOSCOW (MRC) -- BP hiked its dividend and accelerated share buybacks to the fastest pace yet after an “exceptional” result in oil refining and trading lifted profits above even the highest expectations, said Houstonchronicle.

The oil and gas industry is boosting returns to shareholders as the cash rolls in, even while the energy crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine threatens the global economy. BP said it expects prices to remain high and highlighted its investments in additional supplies.

“Today’s results show that BP continues to perform while transforming," Chief Executive Officer Bernard Looney said in a statement on Tuesday. The company is “providing the oil and gas the world needs today -- while at the same time investing to accelerate the energy transition."

Following in the footsteps of most of its peers, the London-based company said it will repurchase USD3.5 billion of shares over the next three months, adding to the USD3.8 billion it already bought back in the first half. It also increased its dividend by 10%.

The dividend was increased to 6 cents a share, an improvement from a previous commitment to raise the payout by around 4% annually through to 2025. Net debt fell to USD22.82 billion at the end of the period, down from USD32.7 billion a year ago.

The results showed BP is “delivering across all three key areas: earnings/cash, capital discipline and shareholder distributions,” Redburn analysts wrote in a research note.

BP’s second-quarter adjusted net income was $8.45 billion, the highest since 2008 and comfortably beating even the highest analyst estimate. This wasn’t just driven by high crude and natural gas prices -- the company’s refineries earned strong margins and its oil traders delivered an “exceptional” performance.

The company never discloses how much profit its oil traders generate, but did say that adjusted earnings before interest, taxation, depreciation and amortization for its refining and trading unit was USD3.73 billion, compared with just USD301 million a year ago.

Gas trading fared worse, delivering an “average” result for the quarter, the company said. That in part was a result of a halt to operations at the Freeport liquefied natural gas facility in the US, which will lead to significant reduction in the number of cargoes it expects to receive.

The oil sector’s sky-high profits come at a politically tricky time for an industry accused of profiteering from the fallout from Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression, while also failing to invest enough in new drilling. Alongside its earnings statement, BP published an extensive list of investments it is making in the UK, where the rising cost of energy has become a hot political issue and the North Sea oil and gas industry has already been hit by a windfall tax.
That hasn’t stopped calls for further taxation. Friends of the Earth campaigner Sana Yusuf said that a much tougher windfall tax on oil and gas profits is needed. “It beggars belief that these companies are raking in such huge sums in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis,” she said in a statement.

Collectively, the world’s five major international oil companies made more money in the second quarter than ever before, raking in more than USD60 billion. With recession fears gathering pace, there has been speculation that the second quarter could end up marking the high point for Big Oil this year. BP said it expects oil and natural gas prices, and refining margins, to stay high in the third quarter because of disruptions in Russian supply, relatively low inventories and reduced spare capacity.
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LyondellBasell refinery could undergo a big transformation after it closes

MOSCOW (MRC) -- The planned closure of LyondellBasell’s refinery could make way for “a very large investment” at the site along the Houston Ship Channel, said Houstonchronicle.

The multinational chemical company with headquarters in Houston said it is making progress with molecular recycling technology and with other forms of advanced recycling that could be “a very good fit” for the site. "The more we look at it the more we are inspired by it," Vanacker said of the site’s post-refinery future, "we have a lot of equipment we could then use."

The company announced in April that it planned to close the refinery next year despite soaring gasoline prices and a refining shortage that is boosting refiners’ bottom lines. The refinery employs 550 people and is among the nation’s largest, capable of refining 268,000 barrels of oil per day of crude into transportation fuels.

To keep the aging refinery open would require a “huge” investment of its own, Vanacker said, estimating it could cost more than USD1 billion to bring the refinery to safe operating standards. "We will not at the expense of safety keep operating the refinery," he told analysts during the call.

The tight refining market during the first half of 2022 has helped pull the refinery out of a slide dating to at least 2016. The only refinery in LyondellBasell’s global portfolio of chemical and plastics plants had annual operating losses for at least the past six years. During the first half of 2022, the refinery’s operating income jumped to USD570 million from a USD225 million loss during the first half of 2021. The company said it expects to begin incurring costs related to the refinery’s closure this quarter.

We remind, LyondellBasell Industries announced net income for the second quarter 2022 of USD1.6 billion, or USD4.98 per share. The company recognized a USD69 million non-cash impairment charge during the quarter related to the exit from our Australian polypropylene business that impacted earnings by USD0.21 per share. Second quarter 2022 EBITDA was USD2.4 billion, or USD2.5 billion excluding LCM and impairment. Second quarter 2022 EBITDA was further impacted by a USD94 million non-cash pension settlement charge.
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