Sales for Afton Chemical (NewMarket Corps's petroleum additives segment) for the third quarter of 2017 were $546.2 million, up 6.6% versus the same period last year. Petroleum additives operating profit for the third quarter of 2017 was $87.9 million, lower than third quarter operating profit last year of $106.4 million. The company said the decrease was due to higher raw material and conversion costs, and changes in selling prices and product mix, partially offset by increased shipments. Shipments between quarterly periods were up 4.7% from the same period last year with increases in both lubricant additives and fuel additives shipments. Europe and Latin America were the main regions contributing to the increase in lubricant additives shipments, and Europe was the primary driver of the increase in fuel additives shipments.
Petroleum additives sales for the first nine months of 2017 were $1.6 billion compared to sales in the first nine months of last year of $1.5 billion, or an increase of 6.2%. Petroleum additives operating profit for the first nine months of the year was $281.9 million compared to $309.3 million for the first nine months of 2016, or a decrease of 8.8%. The company said the drivers for the decreases in operating profit between the nine month periods were consistent with those affecting the third quarter comparison discussed above. Shipments increased 8.3% between periods with increases in both lubricant additives and fuel additives shipments. Europe, Asia Pacific and Latin America were the main regions contributing to the increase in lubricant additives shipments, and Europe was the primary driver of the increase in fuel additives shipments.
"Petroleum additives sales and shipments continue to be strong in 2017. However, we have seen a decrease in operating profit margins during the past two quarters and in the nine month period as compared to last year. Multiple increases in raw material costs have continued to put downward pressure on margins and our actions with regard to pricing have not kept pace. Given this environment, our ongoing focus will be to strengthen our margins so that they continue to be within the historical ranges our stakeholders have come to expect. We continue to believe that the fundamentals of the industry as a whole remain unchanged", said NewMarket Corporation Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Thomas E. Gottwald.
"We continued to generate solid operating cash flows in the first nine months of 2017. During the period we completed our previously announced acquisition of Aditivos Mexicanos, S.A. de C.V., a petroleum additives manufacturing, sales and distribution company based in Mexico City, Mexico, for $183.9 million. We also paid dividends of $62.2 million, funded capital expenditures of $121.0 million, issued $250 million of fixed rate long-term debt in a private placement transaction, and repaid $146.0 million under our revolving credit facility. Work continues on phase two at our manufacturing facility in Singapore. We are in the process of commissioning our production units, with commercial production expected during the first quarter of 2018", said Gottwald.
NewMarket's net income for the third quarter of 2017 was $59.8 million compared to net income of $71.4 million for the third quarter of 2016. For the first nine months of 2017, net income was $186.4 million compared to net income of $197.8 million for the first nine months of last year.