For Westlake Chemical Corp., 2019 couldn't end soon enough.
The Houston-based materials and finished products maker saw its 2019 sales fall 6 percent to just a little more than $8.1 billion, as profit for the year tumbled almost 58 percent to $421 million.
Westlake's vinyls unit — including PVC resin, PVC pipes and fittings and PVC siding and profiles for fencing, decking, windows and doors — reported 2019 sales down 4 percent to just over $6.3 billion. That unit accounted for almost 78 percent of the firm's sales in 2019.
The remainder of Westlake's sales for the year came from its olefins unit, including polyethylene resin. Sales for that unit were down almost 12 percent to less than $1.8 billion for the year.
In 2019 operating profit, Westlake's vinyls unit saw results decline almost 51 percent to $451 million. Olefins' operating profit for the year was down almost 55 percent to $260 million.
"We experienced a difficult economic environment in 2019 as a result of slower global economic growth, which has been impacted by international trade tensions," President and CEO Albert Chao said in a Feb. 18 news release. "In this challenging environment, we remained disciplined by focusing on efficiently operating our facilities and investing in initiatives which further our chain integration, lower our cost position and leverage our current products and footprint around the world."
"We believe we are well positioned in the market with many of our operations sitting on the lower end of the global cost curve and expect to drive long-term value for our stockholders," he added.
On Wall Street, Westlake's fourth-quarter and full-year results sent its per-share stock price down more than 7 percent to $60.25 on Feb. 18. The price had recovered to $62 in late trading Feb. 19. It had been near $75 in early November.