The financial impact of COVID-19 is being felt at public firms across the plastics industry.
Several public firms announced first-quarter results in April 30 and May 1, with many reporting lower sales and profit totals because of the impact of the pandemic.
The outbreak has constrained economic activity as many businesses have closed and consumers have stayed home to prevent spreading the virus. As of April 30, more than 230,000 people have died from COVID-19 around the world.
First-quarter sales at global resin and compounding leader LyondellBasell Industries were down 15 percent to $7.5 billion, with profit tumbling 82 percent to $144 million. The firm, based in Houston and London, said on May 1 that it was reducing capital expenditures in 2020 by $500 million.
"We are navigating through these challenging times by finding benefits from our core strengths in operational excellence, cost management and capital discipline," CEO Bob Patel said in a news release. "Our significant global feedstock flexibility serves us well during periods of volatile raw material prices."
LBI already has temporarily closed several small compounding plants — part of its Advanced Polymer Solutions unit — because of the COVID-19 impact. Patel said that about one-third of that unit's demand comes from the automotive sector, which has been strongly impacted by the crisis.
Even under challenging conditions, LBI was able to open a new 1.1 billion-pound-capacity polyethylene production line in La Porte, Texas, during the quarter. The new line uses Hyperzone technology.