Plastics majors fared well in 2012

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 11, 2013 6:00 am ET

Stock prices at PolyOne, Huntsman Corp., Eastman Chemical Co. and Omnova Solutions Inc. each were up 50-75 percent from Jan. 1 to the close of trading Dec. 17. PolyOne’s focus on specialty markets helped to fuel a price gain of almost 72 percent. The market also reacted positively to PolyOne’s purchase of sheet maker and compounder Spartech Corp.

Georgia Gulf Corp. and Westlake Chemical Corp. each fared even better on the stock-price front during 2012. Georgia Gulf’s per-share price more than doubled, climbing 120 percent, while Westlake posted a 96 percent per-share gain. Both firms saw their PVC businesses benefit from access to low-cost, natural gas-based feedstocks. Those feedstocks also helped Westlake’s polyethylene business unit.

These outsized returns make the 31 percent gain enjoyed by compounder A. Schulman Inc. seem modest by comparison. Schulman benefited from exiting low-margin businesses and working to build its color and additive concentrates markets, particularly in North America.

Dow Chemical Co., with a much broader global plastics and chemicals portfolio, managed a per-share price gain of about 11 percent. Kraton Performance Polymers Inc., with a focus on styrenic block copolymers, saw its price grow about 16 percent during 2012.

Not every publicly held plastics-related firm enjoyed 2012, however. Stock prices at global chemicals giant DuPont Co. and world acetal leader Celanese Corp. each fell about 3 percent during 2012, as slowing international businesses began to take their toll. Specialty chemicals maker Ferro Corp., which gets about 10 percent of its sales from plastics, saw its per-share price take a 36 percent hit as demand for its products in solar energy markets tumbled.

And while the bloom may not entirely be off the bioplastics market, Wall Street investors sure haven’t warmed to it yet. Cereplast Corp. saw its per-share price slide all the way to 4 cents — a 95 percent plummet. Fellow bioplastics maker Metabolix did not do much better during 2012, with a slide of almost 60 percent taking its price below $2 per share.

As for 2013, Dow Chemical’s prospects are good, according to financial website TheStreet.com. On Dec. 17, the site’s staff said Dow’s strengths “can be seen in multiple areas, such as its largely solid financial position with reasonable debt levels by most measures and increase in stock price during the past year.”

And at The Motley Fool financial site, www.fool.com, analyst Seth Jayson states that Georgia Gulf is in good shape, based on its inventory levels. “Georgia Gulf may display positive inventory divergence, suggesting that management sees increased demand on the horizon,” he wrote Dec. 5.

PolyOne and other firms that were on the rise in 2012 are likely to be just fine in 2013 with stock gains half the size of the upswings they enjoyed this year.

Esposito is a senior reporter for Plastics News.


Comments

Plastics majors fared well in 2012

By Frank Esposito
Senior Staff Reporter

Published: January 11, 2013 6:00 am ET

Post Your Comments


Back to story

Market Reports

Thermoformed Packaging 2014 Market Review & Outlook North America

This in-depth report provides analysis and discussions of economic and political conditions, market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting supply and demand, business opportunities and threats, materials pricing, manufacturing technology, as well as strategies being implemented by thermoformed packaging companies. In addition, there are reviews of 25 leading thermoformers in the packaging segment, assessing their growth initiatives and performance metrics over 10 years.

Learn more

Automotive Market Review and Outlook 2014 The Americas

This 75-page report features in-depth analysis of the automotive industry for the Americas. It includes discussions of market trends, legislative/regulatory activity impacting production and threats as well as design strategies being implemented by the major automakers. Detailed charts and data tables outline North American automotive production over the last five years.

Learn more

Plastics Building & Construction Market Review and Outlook 2014 with MS Excel chart data

This report provides in-depth analysis of the plastic building and construction market for North America, including discussions of trends, opportunities, threats and the latest developments in construction trends that impact plastics processors.

Learn more

Upcoming Plastics News Events

May 6, 2014 - May 8, 2014Plastics in Medical Devices 2014

May 12, 2014 - May 12, 2014Plastics News Brazil Pharma Summit

September 10, 2014 - September 12, 2014Plastics Caps & Closures 2014

February 3, 2015 - February 7, 2015Plastics News Executive Forum 2015

More Events