WR Grace expects lower Q1 net income, downgrades full-year outlook

10 April 2013 14:34  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS)--WR Grace expects first-quarter net income to come in at $52m-$53m (€39m-€40m), down from net income of $61m the US-based specialty chemicals and catalysts firm reported in the same period a year ago, it said in an interim update on Wednesday.

WR Grace also lowered its full-year 2013 earnings outlook, mainly because of weaker-than-expected European markets, it said.

Grace said that first-quarter sales in its catalysts technologies business are below expectations because of the loss of sales at four large customers from customer operational issues and customer inventory reductions, as well as a delay of expected sales at five large customers.

Preliminary segment operating income of the Grace’s catalysts technologies business segment is about $77m, down from operating income of $99m the segment recorded in the 2012 first quarter.

Grace also said that it will record a currency transaction loss of $8m in the first quarter because of a devaluation of Venezuela’s currency, the bolivar.

As for its full-year 2013 outlook, Grace said it expects to achieve adjusted earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) of between $540m to $560m, an increase of 4% to 8% from the same period a year ago - but down from Grace’s earlier outlook, issued in February, of EBIT of $560m to $580m this year.

Grace said that European economic conditions were weaker than expected, affecting sales growth in all three of the company’s business segments – catalysts technologies, materials technologies, and construction products.

The company added that 2013 refinery catalyst volumes were expected to be lower because of price increases.

However, volumes should recover by the end of 2013 as new refining capacity starts to come on-stream, it said.

Grace is scheduled to report its first-quarter results on 24 April.

($1 = €0.76)

By: Stefan Baumgarten
+1 713 525 2653

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