INEOS’ performance slowed down slightly after a record start to the year.
In the first quarter the Group had reported earnings (EBITDA) of €753 million – up €199 million on the same time last year.
But the second quarter, though down by €115 million on the first, was still impressive at €638 million compared to €570 million this time last year.
Finance Director John Reece said the North American market had continued to benefit from its flexibility to be able to use cheaper raw materials and Europe was faring well thanks to the continued weakness of the Euro.
He said markets in Asia had also seen some strength in the quarter.
O&P North America reported EBITDA of €227 million compared to €225 million this time last year.
“The US cracker business environment was solid with healthy margins and high operating rates throughout the quarter,” said John.
Polymer demand was strong, particularly in certain product sectors such as pipe and injection moulding grades.
O&P Europe reported EBITDA of €210 million – up €20 million on this time last year.
“Demand for olefins has been solid in a tight market with top of cycle margins,” said John.
Butadiene prices have now declined from their elevated level in the first quarter of the year. European polymer demand was good in a balanced market, with solid volumes and healthy margins in the quarter.
Chemical Intermediates reported EBITDA of €201 million compared to €155 million this time last year.
“The improved performance across all of the businesses continued in the quarter, with sustained good demand for products together with tight supply side conditions as a result of planned and unplanned competitor outages,” said John.
The overall demand trend in the Oligomers business was strong in most product sectors and markets.
Demand for the Oxide business was stable, with particular strength in ethyl acetate and butanol.
Market conditions for the Nitriles business were healthy due to a combination of strong underlying demand, especially in acrylic fibre, and supply limitations due to a number of industry outages.
Phenol markets remained balanced, with some weakness in Europe due to customer turnarounds.
John said the Group had also continued to focus on cash management and liquidity, reducing its net debt by €500 million in just three months. At the end of June net debt stood at about €5.2 billion.