1Q Tough on Calumet

Calumet Specialty Products Partners reported a $49.8 million loss in its first quarter, compared to $46 million in net income in the year earlier quarter, despite a marginal uptick in sales.

Sales for the Indianapolis-based fuels and specialty products manufacturer were $1.3 billion, a nominal improvement from year-earlier results.

Sales volumes were down 8.7 percent in Calumets specialty products segment, however, to 24,594 barrels per day in the first quarter compared to 26,949 b/d in 2013s first quarter. The segments sales volumes included 10,617 barrels per day of lubricating oils, 8,595 b/d of solvents, 1,321 b/d of waxes, and 1,554 b/d of packaged and synthetic specialty products, which include production at Calumets esters facility, Calumet Packaging, Bel-Ray and Royal Purple.

Of those product categories, lubricating oils and packaged and synthetic products saw dips in sales volumes compared to 2013s corresponding quarter, while volumes increased slightly for solvents and waxes.

On March 31, Calumet acquired Anchor Drilling Fluids USA, Inc., for approximately $237 million. Beginning in April, the company launched sales of its Royal Purple brand of lubricating oils into more than 3,000 Wal-Mart locations.

Sales volumes of Royal Purple, Bel-Ray and TruFuel products all increased on a year-over-year basis during the first quarter, Calumets CEO Bill Grube said in the companys May 7 press release. Early indications are that our introduction of Royal Purple products to the Wal-Mart store network has been very successful, with sales tracking ahead of our forecasts.

Calumet also noted that it will expand its Louisiana, Mo., esters plant from 35 million pounds per year to 75 million pounds per year by the second quarter of 2015. The esters produced are a key base stock for aviation, refrigeration and automotive lubricants.

The companys Shreveport, La., facility is scheduled to go back on stream this week after two weeks of scheduled maintenance. The primary focus of the scheduled maintenance involves completion of upgrades to the flare system, inspection work on select units and a change of catalyst on the lube oil hydrotreater, the company said in the release. Among jet fuel and other products, the Shreveport refinery produces waxes and paraffinic lubricating oils.