Braskem, the largest petrochemical company in the Americas, has set a new EBITDA record of R$3.6 billion in the first quarter of 2017. This performance signified a 16% increase from the same period last year, according to preliminary unaudited results. In US dollar terms, the Company's EBITDA stood at US$1.1 billion in the period, an increase of 45% from the first quarter of 2016.
The results attest to the consistent implementation of Braskem's business strategy. One of the highlights was the utilization rates of industrial plants, which averaged over 95% in all the regions where the Company operates, confirming the operational excellence in the management of its assets. The Petrochemical Complex in Mexico, which started operating early last year, contributed significantly to the results, as expected, with its polyethylene plants operating at utilization rates of 97% in the quarter. In the United States and Europe, the average utilization rate of polypropylene plants remained strong, reaching 101%.
Global petrochemical and resin margins remained at a very healthy level and helped drive first quarter performance. "The entire global petrochemical industry is going through a special moment and Braskem, thanks to its excellent operating and commercial performance, was able to reap the rewards of its strategy," said Braskem CEO Fernando Musa. "We attribute these results to all our competent teams who are dedicated to achieving the best returns."
All market segments registered sales volume growth in the first quarter. The period also witnessed signs of recovery in Brazilian demand for thermoplastic resins. Braskem sold 844 kton of resins in the period, up 8% from the same quarter in 2016 and 2% from the last quarter of 2016. Despite higher sales in the Brazilian market, resin exports continued to grow and reached 429 kton, up 3%. Production of basic petrochemicals increased by 5%, with 2.2 million tons being sold. Exports of basic petrochemicals rose 31% to reach 343 kton.
In Mexico, polyethylene sales totaled 264 kton, with around 50% sold in the local market. In the United States and Europe, sales of local production came to 541 kton, increasing 8% from the first quarter of 2016 and setting a new record for the quarter.
In the first quarter of 2017, Braskem posted net revenue of R$12.6 billion, up 4% from the same period last year. In line with its geographic diversification strategy, Brazil accounted for 51% of total revenue. The remaining 49% came from: (i) exports from Brazil (23%) and (ii) international units (26%), which include the U.S., Europe and Mexico. The Company returned to earning profit in the quarter, with consolidated net income of R$1.9 billion. Net income of the parent company was R$1.8 billion.
Braskem is the largest thermoplastic resin producer in the Americas, with annual production volume of over 20 million tons, which includes other chemicals and basic petrochemicals, and annual revenue of R$54 billion. Driven by its purpose to improve the lives of people and create sustainable solutions in chemicals and plastics, Braskem operates in more than 70 countries, has 8,000 team members and operates 41 industrial units in Brazil, the United States, Germany and Mexico (in partnership with the Mexican company Idesa).
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