Sales down, profit up, at Huntsman

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Sales were down, but profit was up for materials maker Huntsman Corp. in full-year 2016.

Total company sales for Huntsman — based in The Woodlands, Texas — slumped 6 percent to less than $9.7 billion in 2016, but the firm’s profit soared to $357 million — almost triple its 2015 level.

Huntsman has exited some businesses and closed some production sites in recent years, partly accounting for the profit improvement. Sales and pretax profit for full-year 2016 were down in the firm’s polyurethanes and advanced materials units. Advanced materials includes products based on epoxy, acrylics and PU.

Huntsman also is in the process of spinning off its titanium dioxide business into a separate firm named Venator. Huntsman will retain a 40 percent stake in the new company.

“As I look at the past year, I am impressed by the quality of earnings that our businesses have achieved and how we are positioned moving into 2017,” President and CEO Peter Huntsman said in a news release.

He added that the firm’s MDI urethanes business “continues to show steady and impressive growth and that the advanced materials and textile effects units “have become solid performers.”

On Wall Street, Huntsman’s per-share stock price was near $17 in August but had improved to almost $23 in late trading Feb. 21.