Petrotahlil - Lotte Chemical Corp., a major South Korean petrochemical company, said Friday that it swung to a net loss in the first quarter from a year earlier due to weak demand amid the coronavirus pandemic.
For the January-March period, Lotte Chemical posted a net loss of 90 billion won (US$73.7 million), shifting from a net profit of 224 billion won a year earlier, the company said in a regulatory filing.
Lotte Chemical said the net loss is blamed on weak demand amid the coronavirus pandemic as well as the suspension of its facilities.
In March, Lotte Chemical temporarily suspended some of its facilities following an explosion at its naphtha cracking center in the Daesan petrochemical complex in Seosan, some 120 kilometers south of Seoul.
The naphtha cracking plant produces ethylene, propylene and other petrochemical feedstocks.
Sales from the Seosan plant account for 21.8 percent of Lotte Chemical's total sales, according to the company.
Lotte Chemical also shifted to an operating loss of 86 billion won from an operating profit of 298 billion won a year earlier.
Sales fell 9.6 percent on-year to 3.27 trillion in the first quarter.
Shares in Lotte Chemical remained unchanged at 195,500 won, underperforming the broader KOSPI's 0.89 percent gain.
Lotte Chemical manufactures a wide-range of petrochemical products, including polymers, monomers, basic petrochemicals, construction and interior materials.
Lotte Chemical is a petrochemical unit of Lotte Group, a South Korean retail-to-chemicals conglomerate.