Global polyolefins leader LyondellBasell Industries posted lower financial results in 2016, partly as a result of production outages and lower selling prices.
Plastics-related businesses at Eastman Chemical Co. and Omnova Solutions also posted mixed results for the year.
Houston-based LBI saw overall sales fall almost 11 percent to $29.2 billion, as profit slipped 14 percent to $3.9 billion. In a Feb. 3 news release, CEO Bob Patel said those results were good, despite the impact of the firm's “heavy planned maintenance schedule and several refining operational upsets.”
Full-year 2016 sales in LBI's Olefins & Polyolefins-Americas unit fell almost 9 percent to just under $9.1 billion, with operating profit down 26.5 percent to $2.4 billion. The unit's polyethylene sales volume in pounds was down almost 4 percent to slightly less than 6 billion pounds. Polypropylene sales volume in pounds dipped 4.5 percent to just under 2.5 billion pounds.
In Olefins & Polyolefins-Europe, Asia, International, LBI's 2016 sales were down almost 9 percent to $10.6 billion, but operating profit grew 14 percent to almost $1.5 billion. That unit's PE sales volume in pounds was down 2 percent to less than 5.5 billion pounds, with PP sales volume down more than 4 percent to less than 6.5 billion pounds.
Patel added that during the past several months, the industry outlook for 2017 has steadily improved. “Healthy U.S. and global economic activity and ethylene project delays have led to an improved forecast for industry supply and demand dynamics,” he said.
At Kingsport, Tenn.-based Eastman, sales in the firm's Advanced Materials unit — including Tritan-brand copolyester — grew nearly 2 percent in 2016 to almost $2.5 billion. The unit's operating profit also surged almost 23 percent to $471 million.
Based on sales, Advanced Materials ranked third among Eastman's four operating units in 2016, generating just over 27 percent of total sales. Companywide, Eastman's sales fell almost 7 percent in 2016 to a little more than $9 billion, but the firm's profit improved 2 percent to $871 million.
At Omnova in Beachwood, Ohio, sales fell for the year ended Nov. 30 more than 9 percent to just under $760 million. The firm posted a $400,000 loss for the year after losing almost $18 million in fiscal 2015.
“Overall, we are encouraged by the seventh consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in adjusted earnings per share,” said President and CEO Anne Noonan, who was appointed to those positions on Dec. 1. Plastic products made by Omnova include polymer emulsions and plastic laminates.
On Wall Street, these three firms traveled different paths in 2016. LBI began the year around $88 per share but had slipped to $86 by year's end for a drop of around 2 percent. It's fared much better in early 2017 and was at $92.40 in early trading Feb. 10.
Eastman's per-share stock price began 2016 around $67.50 but ended at $76.50 for a gain of more than 13 percent. It had improved to $79.20 in early trading Feb. 10. Omnova's per-share stock price soared almost 60 percent during 2016, rising from $6.10 to $9.70. It had declined slightly to $8.90 in early trading Feb. 10.