Celanese Corporation (USA), a leading global chemical company, posted a decline of 38% in Q1 net sales to US$1,146 mln from the same period in 2008 due to dipping volumes on continued weak global demand and lower pricing for acetyl products. The company recorded a net loss of US$20 mln (US$0.16/share) for the three month period compared with a profit of US$145 mln (US$0.87/share) in the prior year period. Higher pricing in Advanced Engineered Materials' and Consumer Specialties' products partially offset the declines in other businesses. With the exception of automotive and electronics, global demand for the company's products improved sequentially as the impacts of inventory destocking throughout its end-consumer supply chains diminished. Excluding one-time items related to restructuring, the company posted adjusted earnings for the period to US$0.08/share compared with US$1.06/share in the same period last year.
The Acetyl Intermediaries segment witnessed net sales of US$572 mln, a 48% dip from the same period last year, due to lower pricing and lower volumes. The sales revenues in its Advanced Engineered Materials segment dropped US$129 mln year-on-year amounting to US$165 mln. Other segments including Consumer Specialties and Industrial Specialties also saw decline in sales revenue plummet due to low volumes. David Weidman, chairman and chief executive officer said, "Although general economic conditions at the consumer level remained weak, we began to realize the positive impacts of reduced inventory destocking throughout our customers' supply chains as the quarter progressed." In the first quarter period, the company shut down its acetic acid and vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) units in Pardies, France and also permanently closed down VAM production unit at the Cangrejera, Mexico. Recently, Celanese agreed to sell its polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) business to Sekisui Chemical Co., Ltd. (Japan).