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HOUSTON (AP) — Westlake Chemical Corp. said Tuesday that fourth-quarter profit fell 69 percent to below Wall Street expectations as costs rose for raw materials.

Sale prices fell for most of the Houston chemicals and plastics maker's major products in the October-December quarter, compared with the July-September quarter.

Income from the company's key olefins business fell by half in the fourth quarter compared with a year ago due to higher raw materials costs. Olefins are chemicals used to make petrochemicals and plastics. Westlake's smaller vinyls business posted an operating loss deeper than its loss the year before. The vinyls business has been hurt by the long downturn in the construction business and strapped municipal budgets.

Net income fell to $26.4 million, or 40 cents per share, from $84.1 million, or $1.26 per share, a year earlier. Analysts polled by FactSet expected 60 cents per share.

Revenue rose 8 percent to $859.2 million from $795.4 million, beating analysts' prediction of $824.3 million.

Westlake is trying to buy Georgia Gulf Corp. and this month raised its offer to $35 per share, or about $1.2 billion, a price that was rejected by the Georgia Gulf board.

Westlake, which had originally offered $30 per share, said this month that it decided not to nominate candidates for Georgia Gulf's board so that the companies can negotiate on friendlier terms.

Atlanta-based Georgia Gulf makes chemicals and vinyl-based building and home-improvement products.

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