Q4, 2007 Trading Statement
INEOS Group Holdings plc confirms that trading in the fourth quarter of 2007 was good and significantly improved in comparison to Q4, 2006
INEOS Group Holdings plc (‘IGH’ or ‘Ineos’) confirms that trading in the fourth quarter of 2007 was good and significantly improved in comparison to Q4, 2006. The improvements in the overall operating performance of the business continued and asset utilization remained high.
Based on unaudited management information, INEOS reports that EBITDA before exceptionals for the fourth quarter of 2007 was in the region of €475 million (Q4, 2006: €263 million). EBITDA before exceptionals for FY2007 was approximately €2,220 million (FY2006: €1,946 million).
The Refining segment saw a significant improvement in performance in the quarter compared to both Q4, 2006 and Q3, 2007. Overall market conditions were relatively good and operating margins reflected this. The Refining performance also benefited from inventory holding gains as crude oil prices continued to climb during the quarter.
O&P Europe experienced a mixed trading performance in the quarter. Olefins volumes were lower as a result of the scheduled turnaround of a cracker at the Cologne site. Rising feedstock prices in the quarter also squeezed cracker margins. However this was partially offset by the continued strong results in polyolefins where beneficial market conditions maintained healthy margins and volumes in the quarter.
The O&P North America segment experienced a relatively weak end to the year with increased feedstock prices squeezing margins. The continued depreciation of the US dollar against the euro has also had an impact on their reported results.
Chemical Intermediates experienced a good performance in the fourth quarter. The Nitriles, Oligomers and Oxide businesses continued to deliver excellent performances with good market conditions and strong margins. The results of the Phenol business were impacted by the shutdown for expansion of its Antwerp facility in the quarter, and margins in the ChlorVinyls business were impacted by higher UK gas prices in the quarter.
Net debt leverage at the end of 2007 was approximately 3.3 times EBITDA (pro forma for acquisitions made during the year). This significant reduction in leverage in the fourth quarter was due to the solid trading performance, together with strong working capital inflows experienced in the quarter. Consolidated financial statements for FY2007 will be available in April 2008.