Mixed News as Companies Report on Q3

Mixed news for the chemical and process industries as companies reported Q3 results

  • BASF reported third quarter profits down 69% year on year to €237M. BASF expects a long slow climb out of recession. BASF expects some employees will remain on short-time working into 2010. Whilst business has stabilised the climb out from the trough will be slow.
  • Shell reported a collapse in Q3 profits from $10.9 billion in 2008 last year down to $3 billion. As a result of this poor performance, Shell will axe some 5000 jobs worldwide in its 'Transition 2009' programme
  • BP's results were some 50% better than city analyst's expectations, with replacement cost profit of $4.98 billion. BP has already cut costs following reorganisation and efficiency improvements and aims to do even more this year. BP noted that they had achieved a 7% increase in production as well as a number of new developments in the Gulf of Mexico, Iraq and China, amongst others.
  • GSK showed that the pharma sector is still reasonably strong. Profits were up 12% at $2.4 billion. Demand for the H1N1 vaccine has help bolster GSK
Overall, things remain tough for commodity sector, and particularly for those who rely on housing starts and the automotive sector for a major proportion of their demand. The end to the various stimulus packages will also create issues as volumes drop back to the 'new normal'.

Some sectors are clearly much less affected, such as pharma, although cost cutting and a move to generics will make things tougher.

For manufacturers, we can anticipate another tough year, chartacterised by reorganisations, reduced capital expenditure and some site closures as we slowly start to pull out of recession.

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