By Patrick Raleigh ERJ On-line news editor
Boston, Massachusetts-Cabot Corp. has reported first quarter earnings of $27 million at its Chemical Business segment, 12.5-percent higher than in the same period last year. The group linked the improvement to cost reduction efforts, improved product mix and currency factors. Sales at the unit rose 14 percent to $351 million.
Cabot's carbon black business, which represents the bulk of the Chemical Business' sales, posted profits $5 million higher than a year ago. These gains, said Cabot, reflected a better product mix, lower fixed costs, cost savings, and exchange rate gains of $5 million, which more than offset higher feedstock costs.
â€œThe profit of the Chemical Business improved as cost savings initiatives and favourable product mix more than offset sustained high raw material costs and pricing pressure arising from low industry capacity utilisation levels,â€ commented Kennett Burnes, Cabot's chairman and CEO.
Looking forward, Burnes said he is cautiously optimistic concerning the outlook for the Chemical Business segment and is encouraged by signs of recovery in Cabot's markets.
For the group as a whole, Cabot reported first quarter earnings of $29 million for the period ended 31 Dec, compared with $33 million a year ago. The latest results, however, included $2 million in charges from certain items and discontinued operations.
Boston-based Cabot is a global supplier of carbon black, fumed silica, inkjet colorants, capacitor materials, and cesium formate drilling fluids.