PHOENIX (Feb. 2)—Carbon black producer Columbian Chemicals Co. posted an 8.7-percent rise in operating income for 2003 to $51.1 million. The performance was achieved on sales of $644.2 million, 17.4-percent higher than in the previous year.
The earnings increase reflected higher sales in North America, improved margins in Europe and South America driven by favorable exchange rates as well as stronger pricing in Europe, according to Phelps Dodge Corp., Columbian's parent company.
These positive factors more than offset the impact of higher utility costs and depreciation, Phelps Dodge said. Columbian operates as the Specialty Chemicals division of Phelps Dodge.