CHEMICAL firm Innospec in Ellesmere Port has seen its financial performance improve as it seeks to rebuild its reputation.

The company is still dealing with the fall-out of a bribery scandal in Indonesia, which resulted in an £8.3m fine handed down in March last year. It paid £3.7m in 2010 with the remainder being spread over instalments until 2013.

Despite that, Innospec’s new management team has overseen a big swing back to profitability.

Tough trading conditions in 2009 had seen the company record a pre-tax loss of £22.5m. But, in a £50m turnaround, it achieved a pre-tax profit of £27.3m last year.

Net improvements in foreign exchange movements on loans contributed £31.1m to that change.

Accounts filed at Companies House show revenues increased 23%, to £238.5m, in 2010, as each of its three business segments contributed growth.

Innospec, which used to be called Associated Octel, makes additives to improve the efficiency and environmental performance of fuels.

Its fuel specialities division, which accounts for 77% of the group’s sales, saw a £33m increase, while its active chemicals division added £2.5m.

Its octane additives operations, which manufactures tetra ethyl lead, still used in cars in some countries and also in aviation fuel, grew sales by £9.3m.

The company said this was due to “a few high-value sales and reflects timing of deliveries rather than an underlying trend”.

Innospec employs about 390 people at its sites in Ellesmere Port and Widnes, and in 11 other countries.