LyondellBasell reports second quarter 2013 earnings of $923 million

LyondellBasell Industries has reported earnings of $923 million ($1.60 per diluted share) from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2013.

Second quarter 2013 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) increased by $53 million from the earlier quarter to $1,652 million.

The company said it had cash balance of $3.2 billion as of 30 June 2013.

LyondellBasell also paid $261 million in dividends during the second quarter of 2013.

The increase in earnings was primarily due to improved operating results in the olefins and polyolefins segments, the company said in a release.

Compared to the prior period, olefins results decreased approximately $30 million, primarily due to lower margins, driven by a 2 cents per pound lower average ethylene price and lower co-product values, which more than offset higher ethylene sales volumes.

Combined polyolefin results increased by approximately $70 million from the first quarter of 2013, driven by higher margins and a 13 per cent increase in polypropylene sales volumes.

"Overall, it was a strong quarter. We achieved record quarterly earnings and advanced our plans for the future on several fronts. The back-to-basics strategy that we put in place three years ago continues to yield strong results and returns for our shareholders. This was particularly evident in both our US and European olefins businesses. In both regions, our plants ran well above average industry operating rates while also utilising additional advantaged natural gas liquid feedstocks," said CEO Jim Gallogly.

"We continue to invest in our assets, completing turnarounds at one propylene oxide plant in the US and another in Europe and concluding the butadiene expansion at Wesseling, Germany during the second quarter. Our well positioned assets and strong operations enabled us to increase our dividend and initiate a share repurchase programme,'' Gallogly said, adding, ''During the latter part of the quarter, we purchased almost one per cent of our outstanding shares and increased our dividend by 25 per cent to 50 cents per share."

LyondellBasell said its US operations with its integrated assets diversified portfolio continued to remain profitable while in Europe, the market continued to seek equilibrium in a slow economy.

The company is faced with rising naphtha prices and lower refining margins as the industry continued to evolve.

LyondellBasell operates in segments like olefins and polyolefins, intermediates and derivatives as also in refining and technology development.

Meanwhile. in early third quarter 2013, the company repurchased 5.4 million of its outstanding ordinary shares and issued 10-year and 30-year bonds with an aggregate principal amount of $1.5 billion, raising a net $1.45 billion after deducting underwriting discounts and offering expenses.