LyondellBasell Industries saw sales and profit continue to recover in the third quarter.
Sales for the quarter at Houston-based LyondellBasell were up almost 87 percent vs. the same quarter in 2020. Third-quarter profit of $1.8 billion was 16 times higher than the year-ago period.
"Our third quarter results reflect robust demand for LyondellBasell products and tight market conditions, which supported strong margins across most of our businesses," CEO Bob Patel said.
Third-quarter sales in LyondellBasell's Olefins & Polyolefins Americas unit — including polyethylene and polypropylene resins — more than doubled to $4.4 billion, as operating profit grew more than four times to $1.4 billion.
The unit's PE sales volume in pounds was up almost 13 percent to almost 1.7 billion pounds for the quarter, with PP sales volume up almost 12 percent to more than 540 million pounds.
At LyondellBasell's Advanced Polymer Solutions unit —including North America's largest compounding operation — third-quarter sales were up 30 percent to $1.3 billion, even as operating profit declined 19 percent to $94 million. The unit's compounding sales volume in pounds also was down 9 percent to just under 800 million pounds for the quarter.
"In North America, solid demand supported continued strength in benchmark integrated [PE] margins and drove [PP] spreads to historic highs," Patel said.
Looking ahead, Patel said that LyondellBasell "expects strong demand for [the firm's] products to continue, as the rollout of vaccines drives further improvement in economic activity around the world."
"Over the next several quarters, we expect unmet consumer demand will extend strength in automotive, construction and other durable goods markets," he added. "While margins are likely to moderate due to increasing feedstock prices, energy costs and winter seasonality, we anticipate ongoing benefits from strong markets and tight industry supply."
Patel will retire as CEO of LyondellBasell at the end of the year, and will join chemicals supplier W.R. Grace Co. in that same role in January.
On Wall Street, LyondellBasell's per-share stock price began 2021 near $97 but was at $93.40 in early trading Oct.29 for a decrease of almost 4 percent.