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Braskem Loss Bigger-Than-Expect as Materials Costs Soaar

Braskem SA, Latin America’s largest petrochemicals maker, posted a larger-than-expected quarterly loss after raw-material costs surged and sales volumes fell.

The loss of 201 million reais ($111 million), or 25 centavos a share, compares with net income of 356 million reais, or 45 centavos, in the year-earlier period, Sao Paulo-based Braskem said in a regulatory filing today. The company was expected to post a loss of 61.3 million reais, according to the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of five analysts.

Competition from increasing imports meant domestic sales volumes dropped 12 percent for thermoplastic polymers known as polyolefins and 6 percent for PVC, a polymer used to make pipes, Braskem said. Costs jumped 39 percent in the quarter to 8.02 billion reais.

“Imports remain pretty high, reducing local producers’ competitiveness,” Paula Kovarsky, an equity analyst at Itau Unibanco Holdings SA, said in a March 7 report. She rates the stock “market perform.”

Net revenue increased 25 percent to 8.71 billion reais in the quarter, up from 6.97 billion reais last year, Braskem said.

Braskem rose 1.5 percent to 15.67 reais yesterday in Sao Paulo and has climbed 22 percent this year, more than a 21 percent gain for the benchmark Bovespa index. Earnings were announced before the opening of the stock market.

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