Fuchs bucks the Q1 downward trend for majors

Fuchs has reported a profit for the first quarter of 2016, against a poor backdrop.

With most oil majors facing either a loss or a fall in earnings, chemicals and lubes independent, Fuchs, cast a ray of sunshine in an otherwise gloomy environment.  The European producer reported first-quarter sales increasing by 12% to €550m (US$ 623m). Sales revenues increased organically by 2% and externally by 13% as a result of the acquisitions made in 2015.

The company has stated its intention to invest €300m (US$ 340m) in the expansion of existing facilities and the construction of new facilities until 2018, according to Stefan Fuchs, chairman of the Fuchs Executive Board.

Amongst the oil majors, the Quarterly news remains largely down-beat.

Shell has reported that first quarter 2016 CCS earnings were $0.8bn compared with $4.8bn for the same quarter a year ago. CCS earnings excluding identified items were down 58% from $3.7bn for the first quarter 2015 to $1.6bn. As with most of their competitors, the Dutch-based oil giant attributes the reduced figures to the decline in oil, gas and LNG prices and weaker refining industry conditions.

French producer, Total, revealed adjusted net income of $1.6bn, down from $2.6bn in the same period as last year, a drop of 40%.  Sales were nearly $33bn, down 22% on the first quarter in 2015.

In the US, Conoco Phillips reported a first-quarter 2016 net loss of $1.5bn, compared with first-quarter 2015 earnings of $272m. Excluding special items, first-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings were a net loss of $1.2bn compared with a first-quarter 2015 adjusted net loss of $222m.  At the same time its downstream spin-off, Phillips 66, recorded a year's drop of 39% in earnings, with first quarter earnings of $385m, down from $987m in the same period last year.  "Weaker margins impacted our financial results in the first quarter," said Greg Garland, chairman and CEO.

A 63% fall in earnings from the last quarter of 2015 was posted by ExxonMobil, down from $4.9bn to $1.8bn in this first quarter of 2016. The company has put the figures down to the impacts of sharply lower commodity prices and weaker refining margins partly offset by strong Chemical results.

Meanwhile, BP has reported a loss of $583m in the first quarter 2016 down from a profit of $2.6bn in the same period last year. The company’s first-quarter replacement cost (RC) loss was $485m, compared with a profit of $2.1bn a year ago. The figures have been attributed to much weaker market conditions.

Chevron has also reported a loss of $725m for the first quarter 2016, compared with earnings of $2.6bn in the 2015 first quarter. Sales and other operating revenues in the first quarter 2016 were $23bn, compared to $32bn in the year-ago period.

“First quarter results declined from a year ago,” said Chairman and CEO John Watson. “Our upstream business was impacted by a more than 35% decline in crude oil prices."