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Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 19 April
8:19 AM MDT | April 22, 2013 | By LINDSAY FROST
This Week in CW:
Earnings season has officially begun as several more companies reported this week. In the US, PPG delivered strong results and beat analyst estimates on strength in their coatings segment. While sales were flat at $3.33 billion, adjusted net income rose 8.8% from the year-ago quarter and beat analysts’ consensus of $1.50/share. Albemarle’s earnings, however, fell short of estimates as all three of its business units posted double-digit profit declines year-over-year. Celanese posted first-quarter net income of $142 million, a decline of 26% due mainly to a significant favorable tax benefit in the year-ago quarter. Excluding charges, Celanese says that adjusted Ebit and earnings were significantly higher. Honeywell’s net earnings rose 17.5%, to $969 million, while sales were flat at $9.3 billion. The company says strength came from its performance materials and technologies (PMT) unit. Sherwin-Williams (SW) reported first-quarter gains on strong demand for architectural paint at its retail paint stores and reaffirmed its forecast for more than 20% profit annual growth in 2013.
A major explosion at West Chemical Co.’s fertilizer plant at West, TX has killed 12 people and injured over 200, according to the most recent reports. The exact cause of the explosion is unknown, and the area is being treated as a crime scene as the investigation continues. However, early reports say it was triggered by a small fire at the plant. The explosion damaged nearby buildings and homes, and rescue workers are continuing their search operation in the area. West is a town with a population of about 2,700 people, and more than half of the residents of the town were evacuated.
Sabic announced a restructuring plan in its European operation that results in 1,050 job cuts. The restructuring aims to improve the competitive position of Sabic's operations in Europe. All of Sabic's European assets have been reviewed, and as a result Sabic plans to close certain assets and reorganize the supply of products from these affected assets through other plants.
Around the Web:
An article in LNG World News states that GE’s oil & gas sector has received contracts to supply gas compression trains for Dominion Virginia Power’s Cove Point Liquefaction Project at Lusby, MD. Adding liquefaction capabilities will transform the existing Cove Point liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal into the first LNG terminal capable of exporting LNG on the US East Coast. GE will supply two gas turbine packages to drive the GE refrigeration compressors. This single-train design will have the capacity to produce approximately 5.25 million m.t./year of LNG.
Economists have been cranking up their home price expectations, though Business Insider says they have seen signs that recovery in housing is slowing down. First, building permits have declined since January. Although housing starts have come in strong, up 7% in March, this was driven by a 31% rise in multifamily starts. Single family starts were down 4.8%, the Insider indicates.