AKRON, OHIO (Aug. 2, 1:30 p.m. ET) — The first half of 2012 wasn't a fun one for the plastics-related units of several public companies.
First-half sales at Dow Chemical Co.'s Performance Plastics unit fell 14 percent vs. the year-ago period to $7.3 billion, although that drop partly was affected by Dow's 2011 sale of its polypropylene business. Sales at plastics-related units of DuPont Co., Celanese Corp. and Eastman Chemical Co. each were down 4-5 percent in the first half.
The Dow unit's first-half pretax profit fell 21 percent to $1.5 billion, while DuPont's Performance Materials unit - including nylon resin and related products - fell three percent in that same category to $542 million. Operating profit at Celanese's Advanced Engineered Materials unit - including its acetals business - tumbled 35 percent to $42 million in the first half. Eastman's Specialty Plastics unit - including Tritan-brand copolyester - saw operating earnings slip 12 percent to $68 million.
The plastics picture was brighter at Huntsman Corp., where its polyurethanes unit saw first-half sales growth of 14 percent (to $2.5 billion) and pretax profit growth of 34 percent (to $347 million). Ferro Corp.'s Specialty Plastics unit - including PP compounds - also had a solid first half, with sales growing 2 percent to $91 million and profit jumping 80 percent to $8.5 million.
Kraton Performance Polymers Inc. saw a mixed bag of financial results in the first half, with sales of its styrene-butadiene copolymer-based products up 7 percent to $784 million, but profit dropping almost 60 percent to $29 million.