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Stolt-Nielsen's profits rise, tanker market momentum builds

October 09/2020

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Stolt-Nielsen has reported net profit of USD29.2 million for the third quarter, a substantial improvement on net profit of USD3.4 million in the prior-year period and USD3.6 million in the second quarter, despite sales that declined over 8% year on year (YOY) to USD474.0 million, according to Chemweek.

The improved result was mainly driven by healthy volumes, lower fuel prices in its tankers and tank containers businesses, and lower overall administrative and general expenses, it says. We are cautiously optimistic that the momentum of a strengthening chemical tanker market will continue, says CEO Niels Stolt-Nielsen. Longer term, the favorable supply/demand outlook should provide a good foundation for continued improved results at Stolt Tankers, he says. For its Stolthaven tank terminals business, the company expects to see healthy demand in most regions, he says. Stolts tank containers business is also seeing signs of improvement, particularly in Asia, after a seasonally slow third quarter, he adds.

While the global economic outlook remains uncertain, the company is also cautiously optimistic about the fourth quarter and beyond, based on the contract portfolio it has secured across its three logistics businesses, according to Stolt-Nielsen. The COVID-19 pandemic is still impacting scheduling in its tankers business, necessitating costly rerouting of ships in order to make overdue crew changes, he says. The company was able to secure five modern 26,000-deadweight metric ton stainless-steel chemical tankers in the secondhand market at a very attractive price, he notes. The tankers are expected to be delivered starting in December.

The chemical tankers business reported third-quarter operating profit of USD28.1 million, up from USD15.0 million a year earlier, with lower bunker costs and improved results from bunker hedging more than offsetting reduced revenue. Sales were USD25 million lower YOY at USD266.3 million, mainly because of fewer operating days and lower freight rates driven by the lower bunker prices, the company says.

The tank terminals segment saw operating profit rise USD3.2 million YOY to USD22.7 million, with results continuing to improve as demand for chemicals used for packaging and healthcare products remained strong, offsetting weak demand for those bound for the automotive and construction sectors, says Stolt-Nielsen. Sales were slightly lower YOY at USD59.8 million. The average terminals utilization rate slipped lower to 93.7% from 95.2% in the second quarter.

The tank containers business reported a rise of USD4.5 million YOY to USD17.5 million, reflecting lower move-related expenses, on sales of USD125.4 million, down almost USD10 million on the prior-year period.

We remind that, as MRC informed earlier, Anglo-Swiss company Ineos delivered its first US shale gas shipment into Rafnes, Norway on March 23, 2016. The INEOS Intrepid, the worlds largest LNG multi gas carrier, left the Marcus Hook terminal near Philadelphia on March 9, bound for Rafnes carrying 27,500 cubic meters of US ethane gas. Ineos said this is the first US shale gas shipped to Europe and represents the culmination of a long-term investment by Ineos.

To receive the gas, Ineos has built the largest two ethane gas storage tanks in Europe at Rafnes in Norway and Grangemouth in Scotland. Ineos uses the ethane from US shale gas in its two gas crackers at Rafnes and Grangemouth, both as a fuel and as a feedstock.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for producing polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP).

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's overall PE production totalled 1,712,400 tonnes in the first seven months of 2020, up by 58% year on year. Linear low density polyethylene (LLDPE) accounted for the greatest increase in the output. At the same time, overall PP production in Russia increased in January-July 2020 by 24% year on year to 1,063,700 tonne. ZapSibNeftekhim accounted for the main increase in the output.


mrcplast.com
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Europe, PP, PE, shale gas, LLDPE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, gas processing, petrochemistry, Ineos, Russia, USA.
Category:General News
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