Westlake Chemical Whiffs on Earnings

Westlake Chemical Corp. (NYSE: WLK) released its fourth-quarter earnings report before the markets opened Tuesday. The company had $0.84 in earnings per share (EPS) on $986.8 million in revenue, versus Thomson Reuters consensus estimates of $0.99 in EPS on revenue of $1.03 billion. In the same period of the previous year, it posted EPS of $1.40 and $1.14 billion in revenue.

In the fourth quarter, the Olefins segment reported income from operations of $138.7 million, a decrease of $104.9 million compared to $243.6 million in the same period from last year.

At the same time, the Vinyls segment reported income from operations of $51.6 million, compared to income from operations of $66.3 million in the fourth quarter of 2014, a decrease of $14.7 million.

Net cash provided by operating activities was $1.08 billion in 2015. Capital expenditures for 2015 were $491.4 million. At the end of December 2015, cash and marketable securities totaled $1.18 billion, compared to $880.6 million in the same period from last year.

Albert Chao, president and CEO of Westlake, said:

We are pleased to report strong earnings for 2015 for both our Olefins and Vinyls segments even with a precipitous decline in global crude oil prices, which resulted in lower selling prices for our major products. In spite of this lower price environment in 2015, we benefited from strong demand for our polyethylene and PVC products as well as from the investments we have made to increase our ethylene and chlor-alkali capacities and from our acquisitions of Vinnolit and North American Specialty Products, expanding our product portfolio into specialty PVC resin and pipe.

Shares of Westlake were trading down 7.3% to $41.73 Tuesday morning, with a consensus analyst price target of $63 and a 52-week trading range of $40.44 to $79.25.