Q4 2018 Trading Statement
INEOS GROUP HOLDINGS S.A.
INEOS Group Holdings S.A. (‘IGH’ or ‘INEOS’) announces its trading performance for the fourth quarter of 2018.
Based on unaudited management information INEOS reports that EBITDA for the fourth quarter of 2018 was €356 million, compared to €562 million for Q4, 2017 and €631 million for Q3, 2018. Full year EBITDA was €2,288 million compared to €2,529 million for 2017. The fourth quarter results were adversely impacted by significant non-cash inventory holding losses of approximately €123 million in the O&P North America and O&P Europe segments as a result of the large decline in crude oil and product prices in the quarter.
North American markets were solid, taking full benefit from their current feedstock advantage. Market conditions in Europe and Asia have remained relatively firm in the quarter.
O&P North America reported EBITDA of €135 million compared to €168 million in Q4, 2017. Full year 2018 EBITDA was €798 million compared to €896 million for 2017. The business has continued to benefit from its flexibility to be able to utilise cheaper NGL feedstocks to maintain margins. The US cracker business environment was generally solid with good operating rates throughout the quarter. Ethylene markets remained long, with increased supply availability impacting margins. Polymer demand was good, with balanced markets and solid margins. The business was adversely impacted by the market disruption from Hurricane Harvey in the fourth quarter of 2017.
O&P Europe reported EBITDA of €108 million compared to €188 million in Q4, 2017. Full year 2018 EBITDA was €672 million compared to €814 million for 2017. Demand for olefins in the quarter was firm in a balanced market with solid margins, partially offset by some comparative weakness in aromatics. Olefin volumes were negatively impacted by the logistical constraints of the low Rhine water levels in the quarter. European polymer demand was good, but increased competition from imports reduced margins in the quarter.
Chemical Intermediates reported EBITDA of €113 million compared to €206 million in Q4, 2017. Full year 2018 EBITDA was €818 million compared to €819 million for 2017. The overall demand trend in the Oligomers business was good across most product sectors and markets. Results were negatively impacted by the ramp up in the cost base for the business’s new LAO and PAO capacity coming on line later in 2019. Demand for the Oxide business was generally balanced with firm demand. There was a scheduled turnaround at the Antwerp site in the quarter. The markets for the Nitriles business were solid with good underlying demand. Demand for the Phenol business was stable, with some weakness in margins due to lower returns on acetone. Volumes for Phenol were also impacted by the low Rhine water levels in the quarter.
Net debt was approximately €4.3 billion at the end of December 2018. Cash balances at the end of the quarter were €2,071 million, and availability under undrawn working capital facilities was €314 million. Net debt leverage was approximately 1.9 times as at the end of December 2018.
In February 2019 the Group paid a dividend of €1,450 million to its parent company.