Global polyolefins leader LyondellBasell Industries saw its profit increase in the first half of 2015, even as sales fell because of lower selling prices for its products.
The Houston-based firm posted overall first-half profit of almost $2.5 billion, up almost 18 percent vs. the first half of 2014. The profit gain was realized even as sales fell 25 percent to $17.3 billion.
First-half operating profit at LBI's Olefins & Polyolefins-Americas unit jumped 19 percent to almost $1.9 billion. The firm's Olefins & Polyolefins-Europe, Asia, International unit saw an even bigger operating income percentage gain, growing 43 percent in the first half to $595 million.
On the sales front, each of those units saw declines of around 23 percent because of lower selling prices. But each unit actually sold more polyethylene and polypropylene resin in the first half of 2015 than they did in the year-ago period.
O&P-Americas saw its PE sales volume in pounds grow almost 4 percent in the first half to almost 2.8 billion pounds. The unit's PP sales jumped more than 3 percent in the same comparison to more than 1.2 billion pounds.
For O&P-EAI, first half PE sales jumped almost 10 percent to almost 2.9 billion pounds, while PP sales ticked up almost 4 percent to more than 3.3 billion pounds.
In a July 28 news release, LBI CEO Bob Patel said that the third-quarter outlook “remains positive for our portfolio.
“Natural gas and [natural gas liquids] remain well-supplied and favorably priced,” he added. “Significant global olefin and polyolefin supply shortages are starting to rebalance as supply returns to the market.”
LBI's second-quarter results exceeded Wall Street expectations, sending its per-share stock price up 3 percent to almost $92.50 on July 28. The price continued to climb and was at $94.15 in late trading July 30.