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Livent stock down 10% on company's sales miss, headwinds in China

Claudia Assis

Livent Corp. shares tanked 10% in the extended session Monday after the lithium producer reported fourth-quarter sales below expectations and said it expects higher costs and lower profit margins this year. Livent said it earned $26 million, or 18 cents a share, in the quarter, versus a loss of $11 million, or 9 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter. Adjusted for one-time items, Livent earned 23 cents a share in the quarter. Revenue rose to $120 million in the quarter, from $113 million a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had expected adjusted earnings of 23 cents a share on sales of $123 million. Livent said it expects its volumes in China to remain flat as it chose to increase volumes to customers outside China, such as Japan and South Korea, as economic conditions weakened in China in late 2018 and its Chinese customers "were unwilling to make firm commitments for price and volume at levels that were acceptable to us." Livent said FMC Corp. is set to spin off its remaining Livent stake on March 1, and that it remained "positive" on "fundamental drivers of demand" for its industry. "In particular, electric vehicle sales that are consistently exceeding even the most bullish forecasts, as well as battery technology developments that are increasingly favoring lithium hydroxide," Livent Chief Executive Paul Graves said in a statement. Livent shares ended the regular trading day up 3.6%.