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Huntsman plastics units report mixed results for 2012

By: Frank Esposito

February 12, 2013

THE WOODLANDS, TEXAS -- Huntsman Corp.'s plastic-related businesses saw mixed results in 2012, with polyurethane improving and advanced materials -- including epoxy -- declining.

Total corporate sales for Huntsman were flat at about $11.2 billion in 2012. But the firm, which is based in The Woodlands, saw its full-year profit jump almost 47 percent to $373 million.

Huntsman's PU unit saw a 2012 sales gain of more than 10 percent to almost $4.9 billion, while the unit's pretax profit soared more than 60 percent to $772 million. PU was the largest of Huntsman's five operating units in 2012, generating almost 44 percent of total sales.

The firm's advanced materials unit struggled, however, with sales dropping 3 percent to about $1.3 billion and pretax profit slipping 17 percent to $92 million.

In a Feb. 12 news release, President and CEO Peter Huntsman said that the firm's 2012 adjusted pretax profit of $1.4 billion "represents record earnings for our current configuration of businesses."

"I am very enthusiastic about the direction in which the company is headed." he added. "Within our largest division — polyurethanes — our MDI [feedstock] business is growing at attractive rates, and future prospects are pointing towards tighter market conditions."

Company officials added that in the fourth quarter of 2012, MDI sales volumes increased primarily from strong demand globally for insulation and from the housing and automotive recovery in North America.

Huntsman's fourth-quarter and full-year results weren't met favorably by Wall Street, however. The firm's per-share stock price was down almost 6 percent to less than $18 in early trading Feb. 12. It had been under $12 as recently as mid-2012.