Middlebury, Connecticut - In a first quarter which saw "a flurry of activity related to our portfolio realignment," chemicals group Chemtura Corp. acquired its partner's interests in the UK-based Baxenden joint venture in urethanes chemicals. Complete integration of Baxenden will allow Chemtura to integrate its global urethane chemicals activities and exploit opportunities for growth, the group emphasised in its first quarter results statement.
Other portfolio changes include acquisition of its antimony joint venture, divestment of its oleochemicals business, and the sale of its fluorine business. Chemtura also signed a deal 30 April under which Baerlocher will make certain heat stabiliser products used in PVC applications.
These actions are of "continuing efforts to improve the positioning and performance of our Polymer Additives business segment," the group commented, in its Q1 results statement.
Net sales at Chemtura rose 2.2 percent to $909 million, led by increases in Performance Specialties and Crop Protection. But the group suffered an operating loss of $6 million, compared to a profit of $11 million for Q1 2007 and a loss from continuing operations of $21 million ($20 million for Q1 2007).
"Performance was in line with our expectations and we delivered on cost reduction," commented Robert Wood, chairman and ceo, adding that Chemtura managed continuing inflation in raw material costs better.
Portfolio diversity helped Chemtura, with Crop Protection delivering "a very strong quarter with operating income up 50 percent on 10 percent growth in sales revenues," Wood continued, in the results statement. "This offset a flat year-on-year performance from our Performance Specialties business due to the timing of the recovery of raw material cost increases and higher manufacturing costs," he added.
Consumer Products increased profitability despite sales 8 percent lower than last year, while in Polymer Additives, where the group supplies flame retardants for polyurethane foam, operating profit for was slightly down from last year but up 20 percent from Q4, 2007. LW