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Westlake Chemical

Westlake Chemical 1st-Quarter Net Rose 40% on Lower Costs; Revenue Down

Westlake Chemical Corp.'s (WLK) first-quarter earnings rose 40% as lower costs mitigated an ongoing decline in revenue.Westlake makes basic chemicals, vinyls, polymers and fabricated PVC products. The company's revenue has declined decline over the past year on lower sales volumes for polyethylene and styrene. But Westlake's profit has benefited from lower ethane-based ethylene production costs, thanks in part to increased North American shale gas production.Last week, Westlake paid $175 million to acquire CertainTeed Corp.'s pipe and foundation group, which produces PVC pipe and fittings for municipal, water well, mining, agriculture and irrigation applications. CertainTeed is a unit of the French construction materials group Compagnie de Saint-Gobain SA (SGO.FR, CODYY).Westlake reported a profit of $123.3 million, or $1.84 a share, up from $87.8 million, or $1.31 a share, a year earlier.Revenue dropped 16% to $864.6 million, reflecting lower feedstock, ethylene and ethylene co-produc...

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