Westlake Chemical Corporation Reports First Quarter Earnings

Westlake Chemical Corporation Reports First Quarter Earnings

HOUSTON, May 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE: WLK) today reported net income for the first quarter of 2015 of $146.3 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, on net sales of $1,103.5 million. This represents a decrease in net income of $11.7 million, or $0.08 per diluted share, compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2014 net income of $158.0 million, or $1.18 per diluted share, on net sales of $1,027.7 million. Net sales for the first quarter of 2015 increased by $75.8 million compared to net sales for the first quarter of 2014, mainly attributable to sales contributed by Vinnolit, our specialty PVC resin business, which we acquired in July 2014, partially offset by lower sales prices for our major products. Income from operations was $229.3 million for the first quarter of 2015 as compared to $248.1 million for the first quarter of 2014. Income from operations for the first quarter of 2015 benefited from improved vinyls integrated product margins, mainly as a result of the cost-advantaged ethane feedstock currently utilized at the Calvert City, Kentucky ethylene plant following the completion of a feedstock conversion and ethylene expansion project, improved production rates at the Geismar, Louisiana chlor-alkali plant and the contribution from Vinnolit as compared to the first quarter of 2014. However, this benefit was more than offset by lower olefins integrated product margins as a result of lower sales prices in the first quarter of 2015 as compared to the prior-year period. Sales prices in the first quarter of 2015 were negatively impacted by the significant decline in crude oil prices.

First quarter 2015 net income of $146.3 million, or $1.10 per diluted share, decreased from the $183.3 million, or $1.37 per diluted share, reported in the fourth quarter of 2014. First quarter 2015 sales of $1,103.5 million decreased $32.4 million compared to sales of $1,135.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. The decrease in sales was mainly due to lower sales prices for all of our major products, primarily due to lower crude oil prices, partially offset by higher sales volumes for PVC, caustic and styrene. Income from operations in the first quarter 2015 of $229.3 million decreased by $73.1 million from the $302.4 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2014. The decrease in income from operations was mainly attributable to lower integrated margins resulting from lower sales prices for all of our major products. First quarter 2015 results were negatively impacted by the utilization of the first-in, first-out (FIFO) inventory accounting method as compared with utilizing the last-in, first-out (LIFO) method used by some companies in the industry primarily due to lower energy and feedstock costs. In addition, first quarter 2015 income from operations was negatively impacted by lost sales, lower production rates and costs associated with a planned maintenance turnaround at our Geismar facility.

Albert Chao, President and Chief Executive Officer, said, "In spite of the lower product prices resulting from a 55% drop in crude oil prices from their 2014 peak, we are pleased with our first quarter results. Our Olefins segment continues to benefit from strong global demand for polyethylene and low-cost feedstocks that are a result of abundant supplies of North American natural gas and natural gas liquids. The planned expansion of our Olefins Petro 1 ethylene unit at our Lake Charles, Louisiana site, which will add 250 million pounds of ethylene capacity, is on schedule for completion in the first half of 2016. Additionally, our Vinyls segment results reflect the benefit of our recent investments, including our ethylene expansion and feedstock conversion from propane to ethane that we completed in 2014 at our Calvert City site, our new chlor-alkali unit that we started up in Geismar at the end of 2013, and our acquisition of Vinnolit."

EBITDA (earnings before interest expense, income taxes, depreciation and amortization) of $297.0 million for the first quarter of 2015 increased by $0.5 million compared to $296.5 million in the first quarter of 2014. EBITDA for the first quarter of 2015 decreased by $58.3 million compared to EBITDA of $355.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2014. A reconciliation of EBITDA to reported net income and to net cash provided by operating activities can be found in the financial schedules at the end of this press release.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $190.6 million in the first quarter of 2015. Capital expenditures for the first quarter of 2015 were $95.8 million. As of March 31, 2015, we had cash of $945.6 million, and our long-term debt was $764.0 million.

OLEFINS SEGMENT

The Olefins segment reported income from operations of $191.1 million in the first quarter of 2015, a decrease of $81.2 million compared to $272.3 million reported in the first quarter of 2014. This decrease was mainly attributable to lower olefins integrated product margins as a result of lower sales prices, and lower polyethylene sales volume in the first quarter of 2015 as compared to the prior-year period.

Income from operations for the first quarter of 2015 for the Olefins segment of $191.1 million decreased by $52.5 million from the $243.6 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2014. The decrease was primarily due to lower olefins integrated product margins as a result of lower sales prices.

VINYLS SEGMENT

The Vinyls segment reported operating income of $47.1 million in the first quarter of 2015 compared to a loss from operations of $21.1 million in the first quarter of 2014, an improvement of $68.2 million. This improvement was primarily driven by higher vinyls integrated product margins in the first quarter of 2015 mainly as a result of the cost-advantaged ethane feedstock currently utilized at the Calvert City ethylene plant following the completion of the feedstock conversion and ethylene expansion project, as compared to the prior-year period. In addition, first quarter 2015 income from operations benefited from higher caustic soda sales volume primarily attributable to improved production rates at our Geismar chlor-alkali plant and the contribution from Vinnolit as compared to the first quarter of 2014. The first quarter 2014 income from operations was negatively impacted by lost sales, lower production rates, unabsorbed fixed manufacturing costs and other costs associated with a maintenance turnaround at our Calvert City facility and the Calvert City ethylene plant's feedstock conversion and expansion project.

The Vinyls segment operating income of $47.1 million in the first quarter of 2015 decreased by $19.2 million from the $66.3 million reported in the fourth quarter of 2014. This decrease was primarily due to lower selling prices for PVC, caustic and building products, partially offset by higher sales volumes for PVC and caustic. In addition, the first quarter 2015 income from operations was negatively impacted by lost sales, lower production rates and costs associated with the maintenance turnaround at our Geismar facility.

The statements in this release and the related teleconference relating to matters that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are subject to significant risks and uncertainties. Actual results could differ materially, based on factors including, but not limited to: general economic and business conditions; the cyclical nature of the chemical industry; availability, cost and volatility of raw materials and utilities, including natural gas from shale production; uncertainties associated with the United States and worldwide economies, including those due to global economic and financial conditions; governmental regulatory actions, including environmental regulation; political unrest; industry production capacity and operating rates; the supply/demand balance for Westlake's products; competitive products and pricing pressures; access to capital markets; technological developments; the effect and results of litigation and settlements of litigation; operating interruptions; and other risk factors. For more detailed information about the factors that could cause actual results to differ materially, please refer to Westlake's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2014, which was filed with the SEC in February 2015.

This release makes reference to certain "non-GAAP" financial measures, such as EBITDA, as defined in Regulation G of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. We report our financial results in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles ("U.S. GAAP"), but believe that certain non-GAAP financial measures, such as EBITDA, provide useful supplemental information to investors regarding the underlying business trends and performance of the company's ongoing operations and are useful for period-over-period comparisons of such operations. These non-GAAP financial measures should be considered as a supplement to, and not as a substitute for, or superior to, the financial measures prepared in accordance with U.S. GAAP. A reconciliation of EBITDA to reported net income and to net cash provided by operating activities can be found in the financial schedules at the end of this press release.

Westlake Chemical Corporation Conference Call Information:

A conference call to discuss Westlake Chemical Corporation's first quarter 2015 results will be held Monday, May 4, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time (10:00 a.m. Central Time). To access the conference call, dial (855) 760-8160, or (704) 288-0624 for international callers, approximately 10 minutes prior to the scheduled start time and reference passcode 24819326.

A replay of the conference call will be available beginning two hours after its conclusion until 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on Monday, May 11, 2015. To hear a replay, dial (855) 859-2056, or (404) 537-3406 for international callers. The replay passcode is 24819326.

The conference call will also be available via webcast at: http://edge.media-server.com/m/p/v6pgxysb/lan/en and the earnings release can be obtained via the company's web page at: http://www.westlake.com/fw/main/IR_Home_Page-123.html.

 

WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(Unaudited)




Three Months Ended March 31,



2015


2014








(In thousands of dollars,
except per share data)

Net sales


$

1,103,531



$

1,027,676


Cost of sales


818,985



740,666


Gross profit


284,546



287,010


Selling, general and administrative expenses


55,266



38,955


Income from operations


229,280



248,055


Interest expense


(9,591)



(9,157)


Other income, net


9,096



2,509


Income before income taxes


228,785



241,407


Provision for income taxes


78,378



83,375


Net income


150,407



158,032


Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests


4,065




Net income attributable to Westlake Chemical Corporation


$

146,342



$

158,032


Earnings per common share attributable to Westlake Chemical Corporation:





Basic


$

1.10



$

1.18


Diluted


$

1.10



$

1.18


 

WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS

(Unaudited)




March 31,
 2015


December 31,
 2014








(In thousands of dollars)

ASSETS





Current assets





Cash and cash equivalents


$

945,649



$

880,601


Accounts receivable, net


527,127



560,666


Inventories


480,380



525,776


Other current assets


49,006



44,244


Total current assets


2,002,162



2,011,287


Property, plant and equipment, net


2,751,486



2,757,557


Other assets, net


426,137



445,146


Total assets


$

5,179,785



$

5,213,990







LIABILITIES AND EQUITY





Current liabilities (accounts payable and accrued liabilities)


$

453,207



$

537,180


Long-term debt


764,027



763,997


Other liabilities


691,809



710,925


Total liabilities


1,909,043



2,012,102


Total Westlake Chemical Corporation stockholders' equity


2,979,858



2,911,511


Noncontrolling interests


290,884



290,377


Total equity


3,270,742



3,201,888


Total liabilities and equity


$

5,179,785



$

5,213,990


 

WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS

(Unaudited)




Three Months Ended March 31,



2015


2014








(In thousands of dollars)

Cash flows from operating activities





Net income


$

150,407



$

158,032


Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities:





Depreciation and amortization


58,641



45,972


Deferred income taxes


5,331



8,275


Other balance sheet changes


(23,823)



226


Net cash provided by operating activities


190,556



212,505


Cash flows from investing activities





Additions to property, plant and equipment


(95,822)



(110,741)


Proceeds from disposition of assets




12


Proceeds from sales and maturities of securities




30,119


Purchase of securities




(49,025)


Settlements of derivative instruments


(833)



(409)


Net cash used for investing activities


(96,655)



(130,044)


Cash flows from financing activities





Dividends paid


(21,964)



(16,789)


Distributions to noncontrolling interests


(3,558)




Proceeds from exercise of stock options


157



2,158


Repurchase of common stock for treasury


(2,000)




Windfall tax benefits from share-based payment arrangements


1,701



3,512


Net cash used for financing activities


(25,664)



(11,119)


Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents


(3,189)




Net increase in cash and cash equivalents


65,048



71,342


Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period


880,601



461,301


Cash and cash equivalents at end of period


$

945,649



$

532,643


 

WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

SEGMENT INFORMATION

(Unaudited)




Three Months Ended March 31,



2015


2014








(In thousands of dollars)

Net external sales





Olefins


$

583,077



$

722,798


Vinyls


520,454



304,878




$

1,103,531



$

1,027,676


Income (loss) from operations





Olefins


$

191,103



$

272,333


Vinyls


47,086



(21,114)


Corporate and other


(8,909)



(3,164)




$

229,280



$

248,055


Depreciation and amortization





Olefins


$

26,939



$

26,647


Vinyls


31,584



19,168


Corporate and other


118



157




$

58,641



$

45,972


Other income (expense), net





Olefins


$

2,552



$

1,454


Vinyls


5,503



(34)


Corporate and other


1,041



1,089




$

9,096



$

2,509


 

WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

RECONCILIATION OF EBITDA TO NET INCOME AND TO NET CASH

PROVIDED BY OPERATING ACTIVITIES

(Unaudited)




Three Months
Ended
December 31,


Three Months
Ended March 31,



2014


2015


2014










(In thousands of dollars)

EBITDA

$

355,318



$

297,017



$

296,536


Less:






Provision for income taxes

98,671



78,378



83,375


Interest expense

9,170



9,591



9,157


Depreciation and amortization

60,092



58,641



45,972


Net income

187,385



150,407



158,032


Changes in operating assets and liabilities

44,359



34,818



46,198


Deferred income taxes

24,508



5,331



8,275


Net cash provided by operating activities

$

256,252



$

190,556



$

212,505


 

WESTLAKE CHEMICAL CORPORATION

SUPPLEMENTAL INFORMATION

Product Sales Price and Volume Variance by Operating Segments




First Quarter 2015 vs.  First Quarter 2014


First Quarter 2015 vs.  Fourth Quarter 2014



Average Sales Price


Volume


Average Sales Price


Volume

Olefins


-26.9%



+7.6%



-22.9%



+20.3%


Vinyls


-9.0%



+79.7%



-10.9%



+7.8%


Company


-21.6%



+29.0%



-17.2%



+14.4%


 

Average Quarterly Industry Prices (1)




Quarter Ended



March 31, 2014


June 30, 2014


September 30, 2014


December 31, 2014


March 31, 2015

Ethane (cents/lb)


11.4


9.8


7.9


7.0


6.3

Propane (cents/lb)


30.8


25.2


24.6


18.1


12.6

Ethylene (cents/lb) (2)


55.1


55.5


66.6


56.2


36.6

Polyethylene (cents/lb) (3)


107.7


109.0


110.0


108.7


76.7

Styrene (cents/lb) (4)


86.9


82.2


85.8


73.5


54.3

Caustic soda ($/short ton) (5)


579.2


595.0


588.3


595.0


588.3

Chlorine ($/short ton) (6)


236.7


232.5


232.5


232.5


239.2

PVC (cents/lb) (7)


66.5


69.5


70.2


69.2


65.5



(1)

Industry pricing data was obtained from IHS Chemical. We have not independently verified the data.



(2)

Represents average North American spot prices of ethylene over the period as reported by IHS Chemical.



(3)

Represents average North American contract prices of polyethylene low density film over the period as reported by IHS Chemical.



(4)

Represents average North American contract prices of styrene over the period as reported by IHS Chemical.



(5)

Represents average North American undiscounted contract prices of caustic soda over the period as reported by IHS Chemical.



(6)

Represents average North American contract prices of chlorine (into chemicals) over the period as reported by IHS Chemical.



(7)

Represents average North American contract prices of PVC over the period as reported by IHS Chemical.

 

 

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SOURCE Westlake Chemical Corporation

(713) 960-9111, Investors - Steve Bender, Media - David R. Hansen

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