Braskem SA 6-K 2008
Documents found in this filing:
SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
REPORT OF FOREIGN PRIVATE ISSUER PURSUANT TO RULE 13A-16
OR 15D-16 OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the month of May, 2008
(Commission File No. 1-14862 )
(Exact Name as Specified in its Charter)
(Translation of registrant's name into English)
Rua Eteno, 1561, Polo Petroquimico de Camacari
Camacari, Bahia - CEP 42810-000 Brazil
(Address of principal executive offices)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant files or will file annual reports under cover Form 20-F or Form 40-F.
Form 20-F ___X___ Form 40-F ______
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is submitting the Form 6-K
in paper as permitted by Regulation S-T Rule 101(b)(1). _____
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is submitting the Form 6-K
in paper as permitted by Regulation S-T Rule 101(b)(7). _____
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant by furnishing the information
contained in this Form is also thereby furnishing the information to the
Commission pursuant to Rule 12g3-2(b) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.
If "Yes" is marked, indicate below the file number assigned to the registrant in connection with Rule 12g3-2(b): 82- _____.
Braskem net income in 1Q08 reaches R$83 million
EBITDA in 1Q08 of R$583 million
São Paulo, Brazil, May 7, 2008 - BRASKEM S.A. (BOVESPA: BRKM3, BRKM5 and BRKM6; NYSE: BAK; LATIBEX: XBRK), the leading company in the thermoplastic resins industry in Latin America and third-largest resin producer in the Americas, announces today its results for the first quarter of 2008 (1Q08).
This release is based on consolidated information that includes 100% of the results of Ipiranga Química, Ipiranga Petroquímica and Copesul, with the respective elimination of the minority interests at all these companies, as well as the proportional consolidation (in accordance with CVM Instruction 247) of the interest in Cetrel S.A. - Empresa de Proteção Ambiental. To enable analysis of the results in relation to prior periods, data for 1Q07 are stated on a pro-forma basis.
The information used to prepare the pro-forma financial information is derived from financial interim statements reviewed by independent external auditors.
On March 31, 2008, the Brazilian real/U.S. dollar exchange rate was R$ 1.7491/US$ 1.00.
1.1 Brazilian resin market grew 10% in 1Q08:
1.2 Domestic resin sales grew 7% in 1Q08:
1.3 Resins production reached 704,000 tons in 1Q08:
1.4 Fixed expenses reduction in 1Q08:
1.5 More than R$77 million in synergies captured through 1Q08:
1.6 EBITDA1 reaches R$583 million in 1Q08:
1.7 Net Income in 1Q08 grows by 204% versus 4Q07 to R$83 million
1.8 Braskem inaugurates Paulínia unit:
1.9 Braskem concludes the acquisition of the petrochemical assets of the Ipiranga Group:
1.10 SEAE and SDE recommend to CADE approval of the investment agreement between Braskem and Petrobras:
1 EBITDA may be defined as earnings before financial result, income tax and social contribution tax, depreciation and amortization, and before non-operating income. EBITDA is used by the Companys cash flow for the periods presented and should not be considered a substitute for net income or an indicator of liquidity. The Company believes that in addition to serving as a measure of operating performance, EBITDA allows for comparisons with other companies. Note however that EBITDA is not a measure established in accordance with Brazilian Corporate Law or U.S. Accounting Principles (US GAAP), and may be defined and calculated differently by other companies.
1.11 Braskem concludes sale of its stake at Petroflex:
1.12 Green Polymer Project moves forward:
Another important step by Braskem in its strategy to value renewable raw materials was the announcement at the close of last month of an important technological cooperation agreement with the São Paulo State Research Support Foundation (Fapesp). The objective of this partnership, which will receive investment of R$ 50 million over a five-year period, is to provide incentives to scientists from the best universities and research centers in São Paulo state to conduct research in the field of polymers made from renewable raw materials.
1.13 Braskem receives Best Financial Information Disclosure Practices award:
2. OPERATING PERFORMANCE:
Braskems strategy is based on optimal use of -addedits products in more profitable markets and segments.
This effort has enabled the Company to register high levels of operating reliability, as well as reduce volatility in the capacity utilization rates of its plants.
In 1Q08, the PP plants operated at 96% capacity utilization and the PVC plants registered a capacity utilization rate of 104%, confirming the trajectory of improvement in plant operability and making it possible to accompany the growth in the domestic PVC market. On the other hand, PE plants operated at 89%, mainly due to the scheduled maintenance stoppages. The ethylene capacity utilization rate was 95%.
Copesul concluded at the beginning of May the scheduled maintenance stoppage at one of its crackers. Through May 2008, roughly R$170 million were invested in maintenance and improvements to ensure an increase in the reliability and productivity of the plant and higher ethylene and propylene production volumes. In approximately 3 weeks, the Camaçari unit will also begin a scheduled maintenance stoppage at one of its crackers, with expected investment of some R$130 million. In 2Q08, the stocks built up since the close of 4Q07 will be used to ensure the supply of our clients and meet the growth in the Brazilian market. The evolution of capacity utilization rates for the main products of Braskem consolidated is shown below.
In the Polyolefins business, PP production volume was practically in line with 4Q07 and 1Q07, while PE production contracted by 2% versus 4Q07 and by 3% versus 1Q07, primarily due to scheduled maintenance stoppages at the plants.
In the Vinyls business, PVC production in the quarter grew to 130,000 tons, an all-time high and 8% higher quarter on quarter and 12% higher year on year, maximizing the results associated with the favorable moment in the domestic PVC market.
In 1Q08, production in the Basic Petrochemicals business was stable in relation to both 4Q07 and 1Q07. This stable performance was due to better operating reliability of the Basic Petrochemicals unit at Camaçari.
Aromatics (BTX) production volume declined by 9% year on year, due to the scheduled maintenance stoppage at the catalytic reforming unit. In relation to 4Q07, aromatics production was down 6%.
Since the acquisition of Politeno in April 2006 and more recently with the consolidation of the Copesul and Ipiranga Petroquímica assets, Braskem operations have become fully integrated between 2nd generation (thermoplastic resins) and 1st generation (basic petrochemicals). This integration has been providing improved operational reliability and, consequently, better product profitability.
3. COMMERCIAL PERFORMANCE:
Domestic demand for thermoplastic resins began 2008 with the same growth trend observed in 2007, supported by economic growth and an increase in per-capita disposable income. In 1Q08, domestic demand for resins, as measured by domestic sales + sales with export incentives + imports, grew 10% in relation to 1Q07, led by the growth of 19% in PVC demand, which was driven by the construction industry. Demand in the PE, PP and PVC market totaled 1,048,000 tons in 1Q08.
Compared with 4Q07, demand in the Brazilian market contracted by 2%. In addition, imports reached 233,000 tons in 1Q08, representing an 18% increase versus 4Q07. The appreciation in the Brazilian real against the U.S. dollar benefitted imports of manufactured goods and resins, especially imports from the United States, where the weak economic growth has been stimulating exports of thermoplastic resins. The Company believes that the impact from this threat by the American producers is already reflected in 1Q08 numbers.
Total sales volume of thermoplastic resins (domestic + export sales) at Braskem was 629,000 tons in 1Q08. Domestic resins sales increased by 7% over 1Q07, supported by the growth in Brazilian demand. In relation to 4Q07, however, domestic resin sales declined by 9%, impacted primarily by the temporary increase in imports.
The table below shows total domestic and export sales volumes.
In the Companys Polyolefins business, year-on-year domestic sales volume in the quarter grew 6%. At the same period, the Brazilian market grew 8%, with imports increasing by 36%. PE and PP exports fell 38% in the same period. This result reflects maximize profitability in its sales strategy andBraskems commitment the need to build inventories to secure supply for its customers during the scheduled maintenance stoppages in 2Q08.
Compared with 4Q07, domestic PE and PP sales declined by 7%, given the unusual seasonality in that quarter. Although the market contracted by 7%, Braskem PP sales contracted only by 2%, with an increase in market share. Sales of PE at Braskem fell by 10%, due to the growth in imports of 14% in the period. Exports of both products declined by 18%, reflecting the initial measures to prepare for the scheduled maintenance stoppages at Braskem's naphtha crackers, planned for the first half of the year.
In the Companys Vinyl business, domestic PVC sales in 1Q08 grew by 13% compared with 1Q07. Braskem operates its PVC plants at full production capacity and has projects to increase this capacity by 50% in order to supply the growing demand for this resin. In the short term, the Company decided to import PVC to supply the domestic market. In 1Q08 PVC imported volume was 12,000 tons.
In relation to 4Q07, Braskem domestic PVC sales fell by 14%, due to the atypical demand registered in the period.
In the companys Basic Petrochemicals business, due to the higher domestic consumption at the Vinyls unit and the building of inventories for the scheduled maintenance stoppage at Copesul, 1Q08 ethylene sales volume contracted by 17% against 1Q07 and 4Q07. For propylene, given higher domestic consumption of PP production and the supply of propylene to Petroquímica Paulínia, in view of the startup of this unit in early 2Q08, sales volume decreased by 16% year on year and by 15% quarter on quarter.
Aromatics sales volume declined by 10% year on year, mainly owing to the lower production volume due to the scheduled maintenance stoppages in the quarter. Compared with 4Q07, aromatics sales contracted by 12%, impacted by the same factors. With the start of the summer driving season in the United States and its impacts on demand for fuel additives, benzene prices are expected to recover in 2Q08 and 3Q08, with potential positive impacts on the sales volume of this product for Braskem.
4. FINANCIAL PERFORMANCE:
4.1 Net Revenue
The variations in total net revenue between the two periods are shown below:
In relation to 4Q07, consolidated net revenue excluding the condensate resales and in dollar terms declined by 6%, primarily due to the reduction of 10% in total resin sales volume, since the price of these products in R$/ton remained stable in relation to the prior quarter. In Brazilian real and also excluding condensate processing, net revenue for the quarter was 9% lower than in 4Q07, mainly due to the average appreciation in the Brazilian real against the dollar of 1%.
The variations in total net revenue between the two periods are shown below:
With the aim of improving its productivity and competitiveness, Copesul has increased its condensate processing operations at the Ipiranga and Alberto Pasqualini (REFAP) refineries since 2007. Net revenue from operations totaled R$210 million in 1Q08, R$188 million in 1Q07 and R$263 million in 4Q07.
In 1Q08, 51% of net revenue (excluding condensate resales and sales from Ipiranga Química) was composed of thermoplastic resins. A complete breakdown of net revenue in 1Q08 is shown below:
Export revenue in 1Q08 reached US$509 million (20% of net revenue), in line with the US$506 million (24% of net revenue) in 1Q07. The lower resin export volumes were offset by the higher prices in the international market in dollar terms in the quarter. Compared with 4Q07, export revenue declined by 13%, due to the lower export volume.
As a direct result of the startup of its distribution operations outside of Brazil, Braskem has kept its resin exports to South America at high levels and increased its sales to Europe, since in these markets the Company increased its direct sales to final clients at better prices. Resin exports in these markets correspond to approximately 65% of total exports and, since the beginning of the year exports have increased more than 60%, due to better sales allocation in the export market as a whole. Sales to Europe and South America increased their share of total exports from 52% in 1Q07 to 64% in 1Q08.
4.2. Cost of Goods Sold
In relation to 4Q07, COGS fell by 6%, driven mainly by the lower sales volume in 1Q08.
The average Amsterdam-Rotterdam-Antwerp (ARA) market price of naphtha in 1Q08 was US$842/ton, 52% higher than the US$555/ton registered in 1Q07 and 5% higher than the US$803/ton in 4Q07. The impact of the higher naphtha costs on the Company in 1Q08 compared with 1Q07 was US$552 million.
In 1Q08, Braskem purchased 1,849,000 tons of naphtha, of which 1,116,000 tons (60%) were acquired from Petrobras, the Companys -materials supplier. The remaining 734,000 tons (40%) were directly imported by the Company, mainly from North Africa and Argentina.
The Companys costs have been adversely impacted the supply of natural gas to Camaçari. In 2008, higher energy costs driven by the use of fuel oil as a substitute for natural gas negatively impacted Braskems results by R$20 million.
The depreciation and amortization included in COGS totaled R$170 million in 1Q08, lower than in both 1Q07 and 4Q07 due to the reduction in sales volume.
4.3. Selling, General and Administrative Expenses
Braskem is committed to reduce its fixed costs and expenses in order to improve its competitiveness. To this end, at the start of 4Q07, the Company launched a program to reduce fixed costs and expenses
whose results will be c
In 1Q08, selling, general and administrative expenses (SG&A) in the quarter were R$261 million, down R$83 million in relation to 1Q07.
Braskem selling expenses in 1Q08 were R$93 million, declining by R$75 million in relation to 1Q07. The main factors of this impact were: (i) lower expenses with the provision for doubtful accounts, in the amount of R$23 million, due to the adjustment of the provision for doubtful accounts booked at Politeno in 1Q07; (ii) reduction in fixed selling expenses in the amount of R$3 million, as a result of the program to reduce fixed expenses; and (iii) lower expenses related to the improved management of the logistics involved in the transfer of products and to the change in the allocation of some expenses aiming at aligning practices between the companies.
Compared with 4Q07, selling expenses were R$70 million lower in 1Q08, primarily due to the same reasons explained before with the exception of provision for doubtful accounts.
In 1Q08, general and administrative expenses were R$ 167 million, down from R$ 176 million in 1Q07. Excluding the impact from non-recurring revenue in the amount of R$17 million in 1Q07, this reduction was R$26 million. This non-recurring revenue consists of an adjustment in the provision for future disbursements by Braskem in the event of liquidation of the Petros plan, which involves Braskem employees formerly employed by Copene. The decline in general and administrative expenses already reflects the results of the program to cut fixed costs announced to the market and implemented by Braskem as of 4Q07, with an impact in the quarter of R$5 million as well as a decline in the provision for profit sharing derived from a change in the calculation criterium.
Compared to 4Q07, general and administrative expenses declined by R$ 9 million, mainly due to lower expenses with services from third parties.
Braskems consolidated EBITDA , R$270for million1Q08 lower thanwas in 1Q07 R. $583 The Companys solid operating with high capacityperformance, utilization rates, efficient sales policy and reduction in fixed costs in the quarter, was partially offset by rising raw material, with an impact of R$467 million and by a reduction in aromatics price spreads over naphtha from US$371/ton in 1Q07 to US$93/ton in 1Q08.
Braskems 1Q08 was 13.2%, EBITDA compressing by 6.1 margin percentage points in relation to 1Q07.
In dollar terms, EBITDA in the quarter was US$336 million.
Braskems in 1Q08EBITDA declined by 10% compared with 4Q07, impacted by the lower domestic sales volume and the lower international aromatic prices. 1Q08 EBITDA margin, which was 13.2%, was in line with the one in the 4Q07, when it reached 13.5% .
4.5. Equity results Subsidiaries and Affiliates
Braskems consolidated results of subsidiariesinterest and affiliatesin in the 1Q08 was negative in the amount of R$22 million. This figure essentially reflects the amortization of goodwill from investments in Ipiranga Química and Copesul.
The variation against 4Q07 was due to the higher amortization in that quarter due to the goodwill from EDSP58, which was incorporated by Copesul at the end of that period.
4.6. Net Financial Result
In 1Q08, the consolidated net financial result was an expense of R$200 million, versus an expense of R$104 million in 1Q07, which represents an increase in expenses of R$96 million. This increase was mainly due to the difference in foreign exchange variation between the periods and its impact on the financial result.
In relation to 4Q07, the net financial result in the quarter increased by R$146 million. Once again, the primary factor was the lower impact of foreign exchange variation between the two periods, since the appreciation in the Brazilian real against the U.S. dollar in the quarter was only 1%, versus 4% in 4Q07.
Excluding the effects of foreign-exchange and monetary variations, the financial result in the quarter declined by approximately R$81 million year on year, with this decline composed chiefly of: (i) a reduction of R$36 million in Interest and Vendor due to the lower volume of vendor operations and the reduction in the average cost of dollar-denominated debt, which fell from 8.6% p.a. in 1Q07 to 7.0% p.a. in 1Q08; (ii) lower expenses with CPMF, IOF and income taxes and bank charges of R$17 million, due to the lower volume of funding and amortizations in the quarter and the elimination of the CPMF tax; (iii) the reduction in Other Financial Expenses and Interest on Tax Debits in the amount of R$14 million, due to the lower amount of interest paid to suppliers and the decline in the SELIC rate applicable on tax debits; and (iv) the changes in investments, with a higher impact on the interest line in financial income in the amount of R$13 million.
Compared with 4Q07, the financial result in 1Q08, excluding foreign exchange and monetary fluctuations, was an expense of R$176 million, practically in line with the expense of R$177 million observed in that quarter. The main variations were: (ii) lower expenses with CPMF, IOF and income taxes and bank charges of R$14 million, due to the elimination of the CPMF tax and the reduction in costs due to the lower volume of funding and amortizations in the quarter, and (ii) the decline of R$7 million in Interest and Vendor, due to the reduction in the average cost of dollar-denominated debt, which fell from 7.4% p.a. in 4Q07 to 7.0% p.a. at the close of 1Q08. These positive factors offset the increase of R$19 million in Other Financial Expenses chiefly due to the increase in the interest paid to suppliers.
The table below summarizes Braskems consolidated financial results on a quartely basis:
4.7. Net Income
Braskem posted net income of R$83 million in 1Q08, R$45 million less than the net income recorded in 1Q07, due to the reasons previously mentioned.
4.8. Free Cash Flow
Operating cash generation was negative R$48 million in 3Q07, compared with positive R$908 million in the previous quarter. The reduction was due to the lower operating income in the quarter, as measured by operating cash generation before working capital of R$420 million, compared to R$ 551 million in 4Q07, and due to the higher working capital needs in the quarter of R$468 million. The main variations were: (i) the increase of R$443 million due to the build in inventories of finished products in anticipation of the scheduled maintenance stoppages planned for 2Q08, and (ii) the reduction in raw material acquired affecting suppliers, in the amount of R$124 million. These needs were partially offset by a reduction in the average term for collection from clients, with a positive impact of R$133 million in the quarter.
Investment activities in 1Q08 include the last installment related to the acquisition of the petrochemical assets of the Ipiranga Group, in the amount of R$638 million, as well as the last payment in the Politeno acquisition, in the amount of R$ 247 million. The amount in 4Q07 included, in addition to the next-to-last installment of the acquisition, the delisting of Copesul.
4.9 - Capital Structure and Liquidity
As of March 31, 2008, R Braskems $ 9.4 billion, 12% higher than grossgross debt at December was 31, 2007. This increase stems mainly from the following factors: (i) the conclusion of the operation to acquire the petrochemical assets of the Ipiranga group, with an impact of R$638 million, (ii) the settlement of the earn-out from the acquisition of Politeno, which required disbursement of R$247 million, and (iii) R$242 million for operational investments and maintenance stoppages in the quarter. In view of these commitments and the operating cash flow compromised by the temporary increase in inventories, consolidated cash and cash equivalents declined by 14% to R$1.9 billion in the quarter, versus R$2.3 billion at the close of 4Q07.
As a result, Braskems consolidated R$7.4 billion, an increase net of R$1.3 debt billion overon the R$ 6.1 billion in net debt as of December 31, 2007. In dollar terms, net debt rose from US$3.5 billion on December 31, 2007 to US$4.2 billion on March 31, 2008.
The company's financial leverage, as measured by the ratio of net debt to EBTIDA in the previous 12 months, which stood at 1.93 times (x) in 2007, rose to 2.56x in 1Q08, due to the increase in net debt mentioned above and the decline in EBITDA in the last 12 months.
The average debt term fell from 11 years at the close of 2007 to 10 years at the close of March this year. The shorter debt profile was impacted by the contracting of the last tranche of the bridge loan in the total amount of US$1.2 billion, which was used to acquire the petrochemical assets of the Ipiranga group and to delist Copesul, which will come due in 2009 and 2010. Braskem is working to replace this operation by structured operations that will lengthen the average term of its debt, which already has an annual payment profile that is adequate for the Companys cash generation.
On April 30, Standard & Poors upgraded Brazil´s credit rating to BBB- , which represents investment grade. The new rating will increase the access by Brazilian companies to offshore capital, whether through direct placements abroad, foreign investment on the São Paulo Stock Exchange (Bovespa), or the inflow of funds into productive sectors, with positive repercussions for Brazils economy, with impacts on onshore interest rates and economic growth. Given this development, Braskem expects to refinancing at highly competitive terms this bridge loan.
At the end of March, 2008, U.S. dollar-denominated debt had 73%, from 71% at the close of 4Q07. The following charts show Braskem gross debt by category and index.
The chart below shows the Companys consolidated amortization schedule as of March 31, 2008.
5. CAPITAL EXPENDITURES:
In line with its commitment to capital discipline and making investments with returns above their cost of capital, Braskem consolidated capital expenditure totaled R$242 million in 1Q08, compared with R$189 million in 1Q07. These funds were invested in operations, in the occupational health and safety and environmental area, and in information technology, and benefited all of the Company's business units.
The investment in the PP plant in Paulínia consumed R$26 million, equivalent to the consolidated portion (60%) of the investments in the unit. The plant started operations in 2Q08, rigorously within the announced schedule, demonstrating Braskems competence in managing its expansion projects.
The Company disbursed R$50 million in scheduled maintenance stoppages, in keeping with its goal of ensuring that all of its plants operate at high levels of reliability.
6. CAPITAL MARKETS:
Braskem Class A preferred shares traded on the São Paulo Stock Exchange (BOVESPA: BRKM5) closed the first quarter at R$14.90 per share, gaining 8% in relation to the closing price at yearend 2007, while the benchmark Ibovespa index lost 5% in the same period. Braskem stock benefitted from the release of strong results reported in 2007, the announcement of a new stock buyback program and the payment of dividends, with a dividend yield of 4.3% .
Braskems Depository Receipts American (NYSE: BAK) closed the quarter at US$16.96 per ADR, gaining 9% in the quarter, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by 8%. Braskem shares traded on the Latibex (Latibex: XBRK) sheddingclosed 2% in thethe quarter,year while the FTSE100at 5 Europe . 32, Index fell 12%.
Average daily trading volume in Braskem Class A preferred shares traded on the Bovespa (BOVESPA: BRKM5) declined by 18%, from R$23.9 million in 4Q07 to R$19.6 million in 1Q08. Braskems U (NYSE: BAK) registered average daily trading volume of US$3.8 million, 8% higher than average daily trading volume in 4Q07. Average daily ibex shares (Latibex: XBRK) fell 46%trading volume to 20,900 in 1Q08, down . from 38,400 in 4Q07.
In the Ibovespa index portfolio for May-August 2008, Braskem shares are ranked 34th in terms of liquidity and weighted at 0.87% of the total index.
On March 31, 2008, Braskem received the Top 5 in Financial Information Disclosure Best Practices Award conferred by MZ Consult in the 10th Annual IR Global Rankings. A total of 160 companies from 31 countries participated in the award. The evaluation of best disclosure practices takes into account the quality of the information made available to investors and the market and is based on the following criteria: operating information, analysis of the income, balance sheet and cash flow statements, provision of outlooks, as well as the information disclosure and dissemination channels used by the companies, including investor relations websites.
7. CONSOLIDATION OF THE PETROCHEMICAL ASSETS OF THE SOUTHERN PETROCHEMICAL COMPLEX:
The acquisition of the petrochemical assets of the Ipiranga group was concluded in 1Q08, with the payment of the last installment and the delivery of the assets by Ultrapar on February 27, 2008. The next step consists of the integration at Braskem of the interest of Petrobras/Petroquisa in these assets and in Petroquímica Paulínia, and the corresponding increase in their interest in Braskem, which should occur before the close of 2Q08.
In this consolidation process, a series of opportunities to capture synergies and create value were identified, with expected gains of US$1.1 billion in net present value to be captured over the next two years. This amount comprises opportunities on various different fronts, in particular: in the industrial and commercial areas, which represent almost half of the expected amount, and in the financial area, with gains of some US$400 million, the capture of which will be accelerated when the assets are incorporated, which should happen until the end of 2008. The investments needed to achieve these synergies is approximately R$250 million.
The company expects to capture approximately R$200 million in EBITDA on an annualized and recurring basis, R$108 million of which already in 2008. The capture of synergies continues at a rapid pace, and as of 1Q08 a total of R$77 million in annual and recurring EBITDA gains were captured, with a focus on the initiatives involving the commercial and supply chain areas. In addition to this operational gain, we also captured additional annual and recurring gains of R$59 million with an impact on the cash position.
The global macroeconomic outlook, while affected in the short term by uncertainties in the U.S. economy and their effect on the rest of the world, points to growth in the global economy of more than 3% per year. It is also clear that Brazil finds itself better prepared to face a potential slowdown in global growth rates, given its improved macroeconomic situation, the economys lower dependence on exports and the recent upgrade in Brazils credit rating to investment grade by Standard & Poors.
Under these circumstances, Braskem believes that the global petrochemical industry will benefit from high growth rates in significant markets for petrochemicals, such as China and India, driven principally by growth in their domestic demand. Moreover, the level of ethylene supply forecast for 2008 represents growth of only 4.5% over 2007 ethylene production, supporting assumptions that in 2008 capacity utilization rates for ethylene production will be high.
Braskem expects Brazilian GDP in 2008 to grow around 4.5%, sustained by internal demand driven by higher disposable income and the greater availability of credit at longer terms. Under these assumptions, and in view of the growth observed in 1Q08, the Brazilian market for thermoplastics resins should grow by roughly 10% in 2008, with significant demand from the construction, automobile manufacturing and agribusiness sectors, among others. Braskem expects to benefit from this environment, drawing on its market leadership and unique range of products and services differentiated by technology and innovation. Braskem expects to operate its 4 basic petrochemical units at high utilization rates in 2H08, with productivity and efficiency gains deriving from scheduled maintenance stoppages that are being held at: the Olefins 1 unit of Copesul, where the maintenance stoppage was concluded in early May, as previously mentioned; and the Olefins 1 unit at the Camaçari Complex, which will begin its stoppage on May 25, with total expected downtime of 30 days. The Company expects an additional gain in working capital during 2Q and 3Q08 as it sells the resins inventories built to prevent these stoppages from affecting the supply to its customers.
From a strategic standpoint, Braskem plans to advance on the three fronts of its growth strategy associated with the creation of value for all shareholders: (i) consolidation of the Brazilian petrochemical industry, concluding the integration process of the Petrobras/Petroquisa stakes at the petrochemical assets of the Ipiranga Group and at Petroquímica Paulínia by the close of 1H08; (ii) diversification of feedstock through access to competitive raw materials, a factor of increasing importance for ensuring competitiveness in a globalized world; and (iii) innovation, advancing the project for green polymers made from renewable raw materials.
Braskem is also due to expand its production capacity, implementing new projects without abandoning fiscal discipline by making investments that provide returns that exceed the company's cost of capital. These new projects for expanding capacity at existing plants are: (i) an expansion of PP and PE capacity at the Southern Petrochemical Complex, currently under study; and (ii) an expansion in PVC capacity of 200,000 tons, with operational startup in 2010. Also under study is the construction of a new PP plant in Camaçari in 2012.
Among the expansion projects designed to increase competitiveness by gaining access to competitively priced raw materials are two joint ventures with Pequiven in Venezuela. One project is for annual production of 450,000 tons of PP integrated with the propane dehydrogenation unit, with startup slated for 20210, while the other is for annual production of 1,100,000 tons of PE integrated with an ethane cracker, with startup expected in 2012. The PP and PE volumes will serve demand for resins from the Venezuelan market and provide a competitive platform for the export of these products to North America, Europe and the western coast of South America.
Shareholders agreements for these ventures have most modern principles of corporate governance. Consensus-based decision making will predominate, and the respective roles of each JV partner are clearly defined. During 2008, these joint ventures will work to structure their project finance, in collaboration with export credit agencies, and private and development banks, and to complete the studies and engineering plans for the two projects. The Company and Pequiven will make a final investment decision once these studies are complete, with the studies related to the PP project expected before the close of this year.
On the innovation front, Braskem plans to present to the Board of Directors before midyear the project for a new plant capable of producing 200,000 tons of green polyethylene per year from sugarcane ethanol, scheduled to come on line in 2010. The first company in the world to produce polyethylene certified as having been manufactured from 100% renewable raw materials, Braskem is currently operating its pilot unit for green polymer production at full capacity 12 tons per year at the Companys Innovation Center. It is also pursuing a number of ongoing projects with domestic and international market leaders with an interest in partnering with Braskem to realize technological advances that contribute to the cause of sustainability.
Progress on all these strategic fronts contribute to the goal of making Braskem one of the ten largest global petrochemical companies in terms of enterprise value, generating value for all its shareholders.
9. EXHIBITS LIST
Forward-Looking Statement Disclaimer for U.S. Securities Law Purposes
This press release contains statements that are forward-looking within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Such forward-looking statements are only predictions and are not guarantees of future performance. Investors are cautioned that any such forward-looking statements are and will be, as the case may be, subject to many risks, uncertainties and factors relating to the operations and business environments of Braskem and its subsidiaries that may cause the actual results of the companies to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied in such forward-looking statements.
Pursuant to the requirements of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the registrant has duly caused this report to be signed on its behalf by the undersigned, thereunto duly authorized.
Date: May 7, 2008
This press release may contain forward-looking statements. These statements are statements that are not historical facts, and are based on management's current view and estimates offuture economic circumstances, industry conditions, company performance and financial results. The words "anticipates", "believes", "estimates", "expects", "plans" and similar expressions, as they relate to the company, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Statements regarding the declaration or payment of dividends, the implementation of principal operating and financing strategies and capital expenditure plans, the direction of future operations and the factors or trends affecting financial condition, liquidity or results of operations are examples of forward-looking statements. Such statements reflect the current views of management and are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties. There is no guarantee that the expected events, trends or results will a ctually occur. The statements are based on many assumptions and factors, including general economic and market conditions, industry conditions, and operating factors. Any changes in such assumptions or factors could cause actual results to differ materially from current expectations.