Northfield, Illinois -- Stepan Co. has reported record earnings for the first quarter, ended 31 March 2012.
The polyols supplier said its net income for Q1 rose 19 percent to $22.3 million compared to $18.8 million a year ago, while net income, excluding deferred compensation, rose 30 percent to $23.6 million compared to $18.2 million a year ago.
Stepan's net sales rose 10 percent to $465.3 million on volume growth of 4 percent. The company said "higher selling prices attributable to commodity raw material inflation" contributed to the increase.
In its polymer division, which includes the company's sales of polyester polyols for the polyurethane sector, sales volumes grew by 7 percent to $96.75 million. Sales volumes of polyols, used primarily in rigid foam insulation, grew by 9 percent due, said Stepan, to higher demand for insulation in replacement roofing and new demand in metal panel insulation and adhesive applications.
Gross profit in polymers grew by 57 percent to $17.4 million, which Stepan said was "led by increased demand for polyol in Europe (volumes rose 12 percent) and North America (volumes rose 7 percent)." Selling price increases to recover higher raw material costs contributed to this improvement.
Stepan commented that its polymer segment "delivered a record first quarter on continued growth of its polyol product used in rigid foam insulation."
The company also noted that its polyol plant expansion in Wesseling, Germany, is now operational and said this new capacity will meet anticipated sales growth for the region.
"Our PA/Polyol plant will complete its triennial maintenance shutdown in North America in the second quarter," the company added.