BOSTON, Mass. (Jan. 26) — Cabot Corp.´s net income more than doubled in the first quarter of fiscal 2006 to $54 million from $24 million due to lower feedstock costs and higher selling prices.
"For the first time in nearly two years we experienced relief from carbon black feedstock costs, which positively impacted performance in both rubber blacks and performance products," said Kennett Burnes, Cabot chairman and CEO.
Cabot said the decline in feedstock prices led to an increase in margins in the carbon black business. This, combined with an 8-percent increase in volume in the rubber black business, despite the effects of the strike at Goodyear, led to the higher profits in the carbon business.
Sales of rubber blacks grew 17.7 percent during the quarter to $351 million, and operating earnings in the carbon black division shot up to $54 million.
Going forward, Burnes sees strong demand for carbon black in all regions outside of North America.
"However," he cautioned, "we remain concerned regarding the balance of capacity and demand in the North American carbon black market, and the impact that this excess capacity will have on our margins."