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COVID-19 - News digest as of 09.11.2020

November 09/2020

1. HollyFrontier posts smaller-than-expected loss as fuel demand recovers

MOSCOW (MRC) -- U.S. refiner HollyFrontier Corp has posted a smaller-than-expected quarterly loss on the back of cost cuts and a recovery in fuel prices, said Hedocarbonprocessing. Oil refiners have been forced to cut production and slash spending as they struggle with months of sluggish demand as coronavirus-led lockdowns wrecked the need for travel. While demand for fuel has gradually picked up with the reopening of economies, a resurgence in coronavirus infections has threatened the recovery. The refiner said the amount of crude it processed rose 11.5% to 421,100 bpd in the third-quarter from the second, but was still 17% lower than a year earlier. It expects to run 360,000 bpd to 380,000 bpd of crude at its refineries in the current quarter.

2. Wacker to cut 1,200 job by end of 2022

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Wacker Chemie AG is moving forward with “Shape the Future,” its efficiency program initiated last November. The Munich-based chemical company has recenly announced that company management and employee representatives have agreed on a framework for the planned job cutbacks, as per the company"s press release. In this regard, some 1,000 jobs in total will go in Germany by the end of 2022. The job cuts will affect mainly Wacker’s administrative departments and the indirect and non-operational functions of its business divisions. In addition, 200 jobs will be cut back at international sites. The layoffs in Germany are to be implemented exclusively with socially responsible and voluntary measures. These include retirement, phased retirement or severance agreements. The recently reached agreement excludes forced layoffs.

3. Sekisui Chemical lowers full-year sales guidance

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Sekisui Specialty Chemicals is announcing that consolidated financial results forecast for the first
half of fiscal 2020 and full-year of fiscal 2020 (ending March 31, 2021), announced on July 30, 2020
have been revised as follows, said the company. Consolidated earnings forecast for the first half of the current fiscal year is expected to exceed the forecast announced on July 30, 2020, as we have promoted a reduction in fixed costs in each segment that was greater than planned, and as demand for High Performance Plastics Company in the mobility field and building and infrastructure materials field has been recovering more than expected. The consolidated earnings forecast for the full year is as stated above, as the demand trend remains
uncertain due to the impact of COVID-19.

4. Asahi Kasei earnings, sales decline YOY, sequential improvement seen

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Asahi Kasei reports a 39.9% year-on-year (YOY) decline in net profit for its fiscal first half, ended 30 September, to Yen 46.8 billion (USD453 million) on sales down 7.4%, to ?989.4 billion. The result reflects the impacts of COVID-19 during the six-month period, reported Chemweek with reference to Asahi"s statement. However, there was an improvement in the overall market environment during the first half due to a recovery in demand, with the company"s fiscal second-quarter results exceeding those of the first quarter. Asahi’s operating income for the fiscal second quarter ended 30 September was Yen 46.7 billion, an increase from ?30.1 billion in the first quarter. Second-quarter sales were Yen 534.2 billion, up from Yen 455.2 billion in the preceding quarter. The impact of COVID-19 has centered on Asahi Kasei’s materials business, which registered an overall decrease in net sales of 21.8% and operating income of 63.4% in the fiscal first half, to ?438.4 billion and ?20.8 billion, respectively.

5. Odfjell swings to profit despite seasonal tanker market slowdown

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Odfjell (Bergen, Norway) reports net earnings of USD3.9 million for the third quarter of 2020, swinging to a profit from a net loss of USD1.1 million in the prior-year period, reported Chemweek. The earnings are down, however, from USD30.9 million in the second quarter, reflecting a seasonal slowing of the chemical tanker market and a high number of vessel dry dockings in the third quarter, it says. EBITDA rose 40% year on year (YOY) to USD71.7 million on sales that increased 6% to USD247.7 million, although both figures are down on the second quarter by 12% and 2%, respectively. Despite the challenging macro environment, Odfjell continues to renew vessel contracts at higher rates compared to last year, “which is an encouraging sign,” says CEO Kristian Morch. “We expect the fourth quarter results to be in line with the third quarter,” he says.

6. Crude futures surge as US election uncertainty eases

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Crude oil prices surged during the mid-morning trade in Asia Nov. 9, shadowing the movement in other risk assets, as uncertainty subsided over the US presidential election result, reported S&P Global. At 10.21 am Singapore time (0221 GMT), ICE Brent January crude futures were up 99 cents/b (2.51%) from the Nov. 6 settle to USD40.44/b, while the NYMEX December light sweet crude contract was USD1/b (2.69%) higher at USD38.14/b. The markers rose 3.98% and 3.77% in the week ended Nov. 6 as indications that the OPEC+ alliance could extend its current production cuts outweighed the uncertainty surrounding the the US elections. With Democrat Joe Biden declared winner of the 2020 race to the White House, oil resumed its uptrend.

7. Bayer swings to loss on EUR10-billion impairment, challenging ag markets

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Bayer swung to a third-quarter net loss of EUR2.74 billion (USD3.21 billion) from a net profit of EUR1.04 billion a year earlier on sales of EUR8.51 billion, down 5.1% on a currency- and portfolio-adjusted basis, said Chemweek. The net loss includes non-cash impairment charges on intangible assets, and provisions, totaling EUR10.18 billion. They are mainly in Bayer’s agricultural division, crop science, in connection with potential future litigation in the US related to the company’s glyphosate-based herbicide Roundup™. Other special charges are from an ongoing restructuring program and litigation at Bayer’s pharmaceuticals business. Bayer’s EBITDA before special items decreased by 21.4% year on year (YOY) in the third quarter to EUR1.79 billion, including a negative currency effect of EUR205 million, missing analysts’ consensus estimate by 12.7%. Crop science was the main driver of the miss with a big decline in third-quarter sales and earnings due partly to seasonal factors. Bayer has nevertheless confirmed its outlook for full year 2020. “We saw a challenging quarter in our agricultural business, a recovery in our pharmaceuticals business, and strong growth at consumer health,” says Bayer CFO Wolfgang Nickl. “The impact of the pandemic is placing additional strain on our crop science division. We are also facing negative currency effects, such as the massive depreciation of the Brazilian real, which is weighing heavily on business in the world’s second-largest agricultural market."

8. Lotte Chemical records lower profit as olefins, aromatics earnings, sales decline

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Lotte Chemical reports third-quarter net profit of 148 billion South Korean won (USD131.7 million), down 30.8% year on year (YOY) from W214 billion, according to Chemweek. The company recorded operating profit of W194 billion, up 20.4% YOY. Sales were W3 trillion, a drop of 21% YOY. Lotte Chemical says its olefin segment"s operating profit of W79 billion was down 62% YOY. Revenue decreased by 36.6% YOY to W1.2 trillion for this segment owing to a decline in product prices. An explosion at the company"s petrochemical complex at Daesan, South Korea, reduced group profit. The complex at Daesan, based on a naphtha cracker, accounts for 21.8% of Lotte Chemical’s sales. It says there was stable demand for hygiene-related products such as masks, hand sanitizers, and transparent partitions. The company projects demand in the fourth quarter to improve because of economic recovery despite the off season at the end of the year. It also forecasts profit to improve after the restart of operations at the Daesan plant within the year.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:Asia, Europe, PE, EVA, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, Asahi Kasei, Bayer, Honam Petrochemical, Lotte Chemical, Sekisui Plastics, Wacker, COVID-19, USA.
Category:General News
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