Norwalk, Connecticut -- Arch Chemicals said 5 May that its sales for the first quarter of 2009 were $293.7 million, compared to $347.1 million for Q1 2008. Higher pricing and the favourable impact of Arch's purchase of Advantis were "more than offset by lower volumes and unfavourable foreign exchange," said the company.
Segment operating income was $9.1 million in 2009 compared to $12.2 million in 2008.
"Despite the very challenging global market conditions, we are pleased with our first quarter results, which exceeded our expectations. These results were driven principally by our water products and performance urethanes businesses, where we benefited both from price increases and from ongoing margin-improvement plans," commented Arch Chemicals' chairman, president and ceo Michael Campbell.
Personal care and industrial biocides met Arch's expectations through a favorable product mix and cost-control initiatives, which offset lower demand, but the company's wood protection and industrial coatings businesses experienced lower demand due to "continued weakness in the global housing and construction markets," said Campbell.
In Arch's Performance Products division, sales were $44.7 million ($53.5 million Q1 2008) and operating income $2.7 million ($0.3 million Q1 2008). Arch said its sales in performance urethanes decreased by $8.0 million to $41 million. "Pricing was significantly lower than the first quarter 2008 due to competitive pressures in the polyol and glycol markets resulting from declining raw material costs," the company commented.
Meanwhile, said Arch, volumes were slightly lower than for Q1 2008, due to the US economic downturn. Operating results improved by $2.3 million due to improved margins from favorable raw material costs, principally propylene.