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Slowdown, Charges Drive LyondellBasell to 4Q Loss

Mon, 02/13/2012 - 8:33am

NEW YORK (AP) — LyondellBasell Industries NV said Friday that it posted a $215 million fourth-quarter loss because the weak economy led customers to delay orders, and the company paid big charges to refinance and shut down a French refinery.

Netherlands-based LyondellBasell refines oil and makes chemicals and plastics used in manufacturing and construction. Because of the slowdown at the end of 2011, LyondellBasell's corporate customers are using up their current stockpiles of goods and delaying orders, said CEO Jim Gallogly in a statement. That hurt sales volumes in Europe and Asia and margins across several businesses, he said.

Margins are how much money a company keeps from its revenue after accounting for costs.

The company cited a hit to its refining margins and in its ethylene business. Ethylene is an industrial chemical.

The company expects European and Asian demand to remain weak in the current quarter for several of its businesses, but is seeing signs of improvement in the U.S., Gallogly said.

In the October-December quarter, the company's loss amounted to 38 cents per share and compared with net income of $771 million, or $1.34 per share, in the same quarter last year.

Excluding $448 million in charges related to shutting down its Berre refinery in France, restructuring, repaying debt and other special items, the company posted an adjusted profit of 41 cents per share. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 75 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $11.44 billion from $10.61 billion. Analysts expected $12.27 billion in revenue.

LyondellBasell emerged from bankruptcy protection in April 2010.

Shares slipped 24 cents to $44.34 Friday morning.

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