Perstorp's net loss widened to 428 million Swedish krona ($47.95 million) in the fourth quarter of 2016, from a SKr227-million loss one year earlier, according to the company. The company's EBITDA, excluding non-recurring items, nevertheless rose to SKr 477 million in the fourth quarter from SKr238 million in the year-earlier period. The increase in earnings was primarily attributable to higher volumes, due to a scheduled shutdown at Stenungsund, Sweden, in 2015, as well as higher unit margins and positive currency effects. The Swedish currency depreciated against the US dollar and the euro during the fourth quarter, compared with the corresponding quarter of 2015.
“We continue to see healthy demand for our main product lines. We expect the first quarter 2017 to remain strong, despite several uncertainties and lack of predictability in the world economy,” says Jan Secher, president and CEO of Perstorp.
Fourth-quarter net sales rose 29% year-on-year (YOY), to SKr 3.13 billion. Margins improved slightly and have been on a healthy level for most of Perstorp’s businesses, the company says. Selling prices were 1% lower than in the same period of the previous year.
Average prices for raw materials such as ethylene, benzene, and methanol were in line with the third quarter, but propylene increased 9%, Perstorp says. Sales volume grew 24% YOY, improving across most businesses and the increase was to some extent helped by the maintenance shutdown at Stenungsund.
"We have seen a more solid improvement for the advanced chemicals and derivatives [business area] during the fourth quarter. [Neopentyl glycol] shows a favorable trend with a new sales record. [Di-pentaerythritol and trimethylolpropane] businesses continue to perform, both with regards to sales and marginal contribution. Market conditions for plasticizers have improved slightly while the market sentiments for alcohols are still tough. Biofuels showed a strong volume growth with increased prices, however the political landscape remains uncertain," Secher adds.
Perstorp closed a refinancing on 17 November, and says it has secured a renewed long-term capital structure.