Westlake Chemical Earnings Call Insights: Unrealized Loss of $10.8 Million and Lake Charles Turnaround

Westlake Chemical Corporation (NYSE:WLK) recently reported its fourth quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Unrealized Loss of $10.8 Million

Brian Maguire – Goldman Sachs: The first question was in the press release there was a comment about trading activity in the quarter resulting in an unrealized loss of $10.8 million. I just wanted to clarify whether that was included in the $143 million of operating profit in the Olefins segment in the quarter or $1.42 of earning, or is this an expense that kind of relates more to future gains and losses?

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M. Steven Bender – SVP, CFO and Treasurer: No, it’s included in those operating results, Brian.

Brian Maguire – Goldman Sachs: Okay, and was that just related to hedging out some feedstock or some finished product at a higher or lower price than what was realized in the quarter?

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M. Steven Bender – SVP, CFO and Treasurer: We have normal trading activity and this is just part of that.

Brian Maguire – Goldman Sachs: Okay. And then second question was, I know you have the big turnaround and capacity expansion in the first quarter of the ethylene unit un Lake Charles and I also know that your olefin volume was down around 11% in the fourth quarter. I’m just trying to get a sense of how much of that volume decline was due to trying to build inventory of ethylene in advance of the turnaround and how much of an impact the turnaround had on the fourth quarter earnings?