Improved sales and margins in the business came about because of three factors. The coronavirus lockdown in China halted polyol production there.
Secondly, there was an explosion at an ethylene oxide plant in Tarragona, Spain. This halted downstream supplies of polyether polyols from there. Finally, Rokita said, there was a planned plant turnaround at Sadara which opened up other markets to European suppliers.
However, the quarter started slowly, with customer orders picking up in the second half of January. Rokita said that by the end of that month, its polyether polyol plants were working flat out, it was selling inventory overhanging from December, and it raised prices.
Although many European economies entered coronavirus related lockdowns from the second week of March, the PU industry reacted cautiously to the shutdowns. M March closed with good results.
Polyester polyol sales were slow in the quarter, and below expectations. Rokita said that market participants believe polyol inventories are high and so sales in the quarter were similar to the same period in 2019.
PCC Prodex, which makes systems for rigid applications, had a good quarter. The mild weather conditions at the start of the year helped it to grow sales through its Crossin authorised spray insulation contractors in the Czech and Slovak markets.
IRPC, which operates in south-east Asia benefited from the coronavirus shutdowns in China. 'Sales in 'he first three months of IRPC's operations were better than the corresponding period of 2019,' according to the quarterly report.
Overall, PCC Rokita generated sales of PLN 374.4m in the first quarter of 2020. This is down 2.53% on the same period last year.
EBITDA across the business fell by 17.6% to PLN 69.9m in the first quarter of 2020. However, the company said it had benefited from a fall in value of the zloty against the euro in the quarter.
Currency conversion: XE.com