Lube Luck

May 25, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lanka’s Chevron unit said net profit for the March 2009 quarter fell 33 percent to 233 million rupees from a year ago with sales virtually stagnant in a slowing economy. Chevron Lubricants Lanka said in a stock exchange filing that sales for the three months ended March 31, 2009 were barely changed, down one percent to 2.3 billion rupees from the previous year.

Chief executive Kishu Gomes told LBO the main reason for the fall in profit during the quarter was raw material that had previously been bought at higher cost.

But Gomes said he expects margins to improve in the next quarter as the current lower raw material costs feed through to the bottom line.

“The main reason (for lower profit in the March quarter) is the raw material price increase that we experienced during the last quarter of last year,” Gomes said.

“We carry inventory of about two months at any given date. The raw materials we bought at the highest levels last year started kicking in to the March quarter results.

“Currently global crude oil prices have come down by a good 40-50 percent but during the first two months of the first quarter of this year we were selling product made o