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June 14, 2016

Volume 7 Issue 8

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Apar, GTS, Balmer Record Upticks

Indian lube suppliers Apar Industries and Balmer Lawrie both recorded strong margins despite weaker revenue, while China’s GTS Chemical Holdings’ revenue was on the upswing, all for the quarter-ended March 31.

Indian transformer oils and auto lubes manufacturer Apar Industries posted a 91-percent spike in segment profit for their fiscal year 2016, reporting earnings of nearly Rs 195 crore (Rs 1.95 billion or U.S. $29 million) compared to Rs 102 crore in 2015. The Mumbai-based supplier’s final quarter, which ended March 31, saw the segment jump 82 percent from last year to 37 crore.

Despite increased margins, segment sales for the full year and fourth quarter periods sank 18 percent and 15 percent, respectively, to Rs 1,841 crore and Rs 415 crore. Falling crude oil prices and sluggish market conditions were to blame, the company noted in its annual report. Exports were sometimes stalled by electricity transmission and distribution issues in “cash-strapped, commodity-driven emerging economies,” the report noted, adding that the domestic market depicted positive signs, but lacked consistency.

Specialty oil volumes during the company’s final quarter were up 3.4 percent to approximately 79,000 tons, which it said was driven by demand for rubber processing oil, auto lubricants and white oils.

As India’s largest manufacturer of transformer oils, Apar held 45 percent of the market in its 2016 fiscal year. Transformer oils made up 36 percent of the company’s revenue, with conductors at 50 percent, cables at 13 percent and automotive oils at 5 percent.

Its automotive business is based on licensed sales of Italian manufacturer Eni S.p.A.’s branded lubes in India. The category’s sales volume was up 2.9 percent in the full year, to around 21,000 tons, partly due to an expansion of its distribution network. The company noted that it has adopted a hub-and-spoke manufacturing and distribution model for specialty oils, which it said allows for efficient delivery cycles to global transformer manufacturers across Asia, Africa and Australia.

“Despite demand from the rural sector being especially low… profitability in the segment continues to be relatively better due to improved product mix, clients mix, disciplined pricing and lower raw material cost,” the company noted.

Apar is still building a $15.5 million, 88,000-tons per year transformer oil plant in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, which it said will “open up new opportunities like bulk exports, and is strategically located in terms of proximity to customers.”

Shandong, China-based GTS’ lubricants division posted revenue of 48.1 million Chinese yuan (U.S. $7.3 million) in its first quarter, or a 35 percent increase compared to ¥35.7 million for the same period in 2015. The company noted in its earnings release that it added three distributors during the quarter, bringing its sales network to a total of 70. The segment represented 22 percent of the specialty chemicals manufacturer’s total revenue.

GTS also highlighted that the American Petroleum Institute granted the company license to market its engine oils as meeting API specifications.

“Despite the ongoing restructuring of the Chinese economy, by concentrating on the production of the highest quality products in the most efficient manner… the revenue growth of both core divisions [specialty chemicals and lubricating oils] continues to exceed 30 percent whilst slightly improving our gross margin,” said Cheung Liu, GTS’s group chief executive. The manufacturer stated that its two main divisions have benefited from environmental policies from the Chinese government.

GTS is the largest Chinese producer of ammonium sulfite, an intermediate used in myriad industrial and consumer applications and which makes up the bulk of its specialty chemicals segment. Its third segment is recarburizers.

India’s largest grease supplier, Balmer Lawrie, posted profit before tax for its greases and lubricants segment of Rs 10.6 crore for its fourth quarter– a 33 percent increase from Rs 7.1 crore in the same period of its prior fiscal year.

The Kolkata-based company’s net sales revenue for the quarter was Rs 49.8 crore, a 46 percent drop from 92.5 crore.