Quaker Chemical Corporation (NYSE:KWR) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
May 01, 2018 • 08:30 am ET
Michael F. Barry
atypical sales pattern.
In our Asia Pacific region, our sales increased 8% with higher volumes being the primary driver, and for the seventh quarter in a row we're happy to report that South America showed good revenue growth. The 11% growth in South America sales was primarily due to volume growth, as well as price increases. One way to look at our market share gains is to look at our overall organic product volume growth in the quarter and compare that to the underlying production growth in our base markets of global steel and auto.
We estimate that our overall volume growth excluding EMEA due to the atypical sales in Q1 2017, was 4% as compared to the underlying growth in our base markets, which we estimate at 2%. We believe this spread of 2% is indicative of our share gains and is due to our commitment of our customer intimacy model. Specifically, we put our customer needs first as our top priority providing them with strong service and business solutions. I believe this approach continues to differentiate us in the marketplace.
In addition, we continue to invest in many other initiatives in our existing business lines in each of our regions that will extend our competitive advantage and help us gain further share, which includes growing our recently acquired technologies around the globe. And as mentioned in the past using the baseball analogy, I see each initiatives as singles and our goals to hit many singles to produce multiple runs and thereby show continuing growth even in the challenging market.
One item worth mentioning that I believe was worth a number of singles was our resent purchase of our partner's interest in our India JV. We now have 100% ownership in our India business, which we believe who have strong inherent growth characteristics in our base market for the foreseeable future.
So in summary, for the quarter, despite the challenge we faced with higher raw material cost, we were able to grow our adjusted EBITDA by 9% and our non-GAAP earnings by 17%. In a nutshell we were able to do this by growing in our base markets taking share in a market place beginning to increase our gross margins and continuing to leverage our SG&A.
I now like to make a few remarks about our combination with Houghton international. Since our announcement in the April of last year, we've been proceeding down numerous paths to close the deal. The one path that largely determines timing of the close is the regulatory review process.
Today we have received approval from China and Australia. The US FTC and European Commission are still in the process of their reviews and we do expect to divest the small number of product lines, but the current expected remedies are consistent with our original expectations. We had expected to close in the second quarter once we filed with the European Commission in Q1. We were going down a two-step path with the European Commission,