By Frank Esposito, Plastics News Staff
Wickliffe, Ohio-based Lubrizol recorded operating profit of almost $169 million for its Advanced Materials unit in 2009 - an increase of about 90 percent over the prior year. Results improved even as the unit's sales fell 12 percent to $1300 million.
The unit's fourth-quarter sales were up 17 percent to almost $350 million when compared to the year-ago period. It also moved from an operating loss of almost $2 million in the fourth quarter of 2008 to an operating profit of $46 million in the same quarter in 2009.
"Advanced Materials benefited from strong volume increases and success in delivering valuable technology" during the quarter, ceo James Hambrick said in a 4 Feb news release.
Advanced Materials was the smaller of Lubrizol's two operating segments in 2009, with about 28 percent of sales. The unit's products include thermoplastic polyurethane, chlorinated PVC and other specialty chemicals. Lubrizol bought the business in 2004 from private equity firm AEA Investors Inc.
In the last 18 months, Lubrizol - whose primary business is in lubricant and fuel additives - has expanded the Advanced Materials unit by purchasing TPU businesses from Dow Chemical Co. and SK Chemicals. The firm also has commercialized new grades of Estane-brand TPU that offer increased chemical resistance when exposed to ethanol or mineral spirits, and additional breathable grades of TPU for use in jacket linings and other film applications.
On Wall Street, Lubrizol's per-share stock price bottomed out near $24 in early March before boomeranging all the way above $80 in January. The price was near $74 in late trading 4 Feb.