Materials makers LyondellBasell Industries and Eastman Chemical Co. saw mostly lower financial results in 2023.
Houston-based LBI saw 2023 sales fall 18 percent to $41.1 billion, as profit slid 45 percent to just over $2.1 billion. Sales at the firm's Olefins & Polyolefins-Americas unit dropped 22 percent for the year to $11.3 billion, with operating profit down 25 percent to less than $1.7 billion. The firm is a major supplier of polyethylene and polypropylene resins.
LBI's Advanced Polymer Systems unit—which includes North America's largest compounding business—posted an operating loss of $261 million for the year, as sales fell 12 percent to $3.7 billon. The unit had operating profit of $16 million in 2022.
In a Feb. 2 news release, CEO Peter Vanacker said that in the fourth quarter, LBI's businesses "delivered exceptional cash conversion amid challenging market conditions while we rapidly moved forward with our strategy."
Officials said that during 2023, petrochemical markets "faced headwinds" from soft global demand, capacity additions and economic uncertainty. Markets "were broadly pressured" by weak demand for durable goods, which impacted margins in several LBI units, they added.
Looking to 2024, LBI officials said that in the first quarter, seasonally slow demand and economic uncertainty "are expected to provide continued headwinds for most businesses."
LBI had an extremely active year in 2023. In March, the firm acquired Italian compounder Mepol srl. Mepol, based in Riese Pio X, makes recycled compounds at plants in Italy and Poland. Then in April, LBI acquired full ownership of recycling plants in the Netherlands and Belgium. The firm had owned half of Quality Circular Polymers BV in a 50-50 joint venture with Veolia Environment SA of France. The QCP mechanical recycling plants make blends using household plastic waste.