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COVID-19 - News digest as of 13.08.2020

August 13/2020

1. LG Chem records substantial rise in net income, improved petchems performance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- South Koreas LG Chem Ltd. reported more than doubled operating profit in the second quarter as electric vehicle demand stayed robust despite virus pandemic and further cemented the leadership of the worlds battery bestseller, with the order book packed for the third quarter, said Chemweek.  In its regulatory filing on Friday, LG Chem announced its consolidated operating profit in the April-June period reached 571.6 billion won (USD480 million), sharply up from 206 billion won a quarter ago and 247 billion won a year earlier.

2. Synthomer posts H1 2020 loss

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Synthomer plc. has reported that its loss attributable to equity holders of the parent for the six months ended 30 June 2020 was 13.1 million pounds or 3.1 pence per share, compared to net income of 47.4 million pounds or 12.9 pence per share in the prior year, according to Chemweek. IFRS loss before tax was 4.7 million pounds compared to a profit before tax of 56.6 million pounds in the previous year. Underlying earnings per share was 10.8 pence per share, down 34.5% from last year, reflecting the lower profits before tax, the higher effective tax rate, and the impact of the pre-emptive acquisition financing 85 million shares rights issue in July 2019 ahead of the acquisition which completed on 1 April 2020. Group revenue for the period declined to 733.7 million pounds from 762.7 million pounds in the previous year. The decrease reflected the very significant fall in raw material prices in the second-quarter 2020 as a result of the impact of COVID-19, more than offsetting the overall increase in volumes of approximately 2%.

3. Saudi Aramco plans further capital spending cuts

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Saudi Aramco plans to cut its capital spending to a range of USD20 billion to USD25 billion this year to pay a USD75 billion dividend it pledged to investors during its initial public offering last year, reported Reuters with reference to the Financial Times, citing people familiar with the matter. The report here says the new level of capital spending is largely dedicated to the state-owned group's exploration and production business and will hold for the next three years. Spending has been cut across the board to shore up cash as the oil industry contends with a realization that lower crude prices could be the norm for a long period of time after the coronavirus pandemic sapped fuel demand.

4. OxyChem earnings drop on COVID-19 impact

MOSCOW (MRC) -- OxyChem, the chemical segment of Occidental Petroleum (Oxy; Houston, Texas) reports second-quarter pre-tax income of USD108 million, down 48% year-over-year (YOY) from USD208 million and 35% ahead of the companys guidance. Sales totaled USD846 million, down 15% YOY from USD998 million, according to Chemweek.Pre-tax income during the first quarter totaled USD186 million. Oxy attributes the 42% sequential decline to the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on product demand. Operational spending at various facilities was lower in the second quarter, offset by softening realized domestic and export (polyvinyl chloride - PVC) prices and volumes, says the company.

5. ExxonMobil delaying Beaumont refinery expansion one year

MOSCOW (MRC) -- ExxonMobil has put off for a year work on its refinery expansion in Beaumont, Texas. The expansion project is now slated to be online sometime in 2023, versus the original 2022 proposal, reported Chemweek with reference to sources familiar with operations' statement to OPIS. Bloomberg first reported the delay. ExxonMobil declined to confirm the story, noting that it does not comment on the status of individual projects. The company "is evaluating all appropriate steps to significantly reduce capital and operating expenses in the near term as a result of market conditions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and commodity price decreases," the company said in a statement. Oil companies have reduced production and cut back refining runs in response to the drop in demand caused by COVID-19.

6. Motiva to cut workforce 10% by September

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Citing the current economic downturn, Motiva Enterprises (Houston, Texas) said Wednesday that it will slash 10% of its workforce by 1 September, including jobs at its headquarters, terminals, and Port Arthur, Texas, facilities, said Hydrocarbonprocessing. Motiva, which operates the 639,700-b/d Port Arthur refinery near Houston, the largest in North America, said hourly operations, maintenance, and lab team members will not be impacted by this job reduction. The company had about 2,800 employees as of December 2019, according to its website. Motiva said the workforce reduction will not affect its licensing deals with Shell and 76. Under exclusive, long-term brand licenses for the Shell and 76 brands, Motiva supplies fuel to more than 5,000 retail gas stations. "Motiva is undergoing a rigorous exercise to capture synergies and optimize processes across the entire organizationfrom our corporate headquarters, terminals, and Port Arthur facilities," the Houston-based company said. Like other US-based refineries, Motiva has experienced historic demand destruction as lockdowns and mass-gathering restrictions related to COVID-19 have virtually wiped out transportation fuel consumption, severely cutting into product margins.

7. Lanxess posts weaker earnings, sales on COVID-19 impacts, net profit jumps on divestment proceeds

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lanxess says net profits in the second quarter of 2020 were almost eight times higher than in the same period of the previous year, to EUR798 million (USD943 million), said Chemweek. This is primarily due to the sale of its 40% stake in chemical park curator Currenta to Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets in April, which resulted in a disposal gain of EUR740 million. Sales declined 16.7% year on year, to EUR1.44 billion, due to weak demand across many industries and lower raw material prices, the company says. EBITDA and EBIT shrank by 23.8% and 57.3%, to EUR198 million and EUR61 million, respectively.

8. Sumitomo Demag reports jump in H1 despite coronavirus

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Japanese-German injection moulding machine manufacturer Sumitomo Demag saw H1 orders for machines produced in Germany and China rise nearly 25% year on year, despite the coronavirus health crisis, said Canplastics. Compared with the first half of 2019, injection molding machine manufacturer Sumitomo (SHI) Demag is ending the first half of 2020 with what it calls "a healthy order book." During the first six months, the value of incoming orders for machines produced in Germany rose by almost 25 per cent.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, PVC, PP, PE, kausticheskaya soda, crude and gaz condensate, SPVC, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, adhesives, Exxon Mobil, Lanxess, LG Chem, Motiva Enterprises, OxyChem, Saudi Aramco, Sumitomo, Synthomer, COVID-19, Germany, China, Saudi Arabia, USA, South Korea.
Category:General News
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