US Albermarle expects catalysts sales to recover after Q2 decline

18 July 2012 17:31  [Source: ICIS news]

Albemarle Bayport facility in TexasHOUSTON (ICIS)--Albemarle expects its catalysts sales to recover soon from a 14% year-on-year decline in the second quarter, the US-based specialty chemicals and catalysts firm said on Wednesday.

The company's 2012 second-quarter catalysts sales fell to $229m (€185m) - from $267m in the 2011 second quarter - largely because of weaker hydroprocessing catalyst (HPC) volumes and unfavourable currency impacts.

However, CEO Luke Kissam said projects in Saudi Arabia and South Korea, as well as capacity expansions in the US, would help drive Albermarle’s catalysts business for the balance of 2012 and beyond.

“All [three projects] are on track, within budget, and are expected to come online by year-end,” Kissam told analysts during Albemarle’s earnings call.

In 2013, Albermarle’s catalysts business should have a “step-out year”, he added.

Kissam noted that despite the year-on-year decline in catalysts sales, the segment's underlying profitability improved - with income margin rising to 29%, from 25% in the 2011 second quarter – because of lower input costs.

However, overall, Albermarle does not see an expansion in the global economy in the second half of the year – contrary its previous expectations, Kissam said.

As a result, Albermarle expects its businesses – catalysts, fine chemistry, and polymer solutions – to record full-year 2012 earnings flat or modestly higher than in 2011, he said.

Albemarle’s second-quarter net income plummeted to $37.7m – from $114.2m in the 2011 second quarter - as a result of expenses related to the company’s exit from the phosphorous flame retardants business.

Additional reporting by Bobbie Clark

($1 = €0.81)
By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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