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Albemarle (ALB) Earnings Surpass Estimates in Q2, Sales Lag

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·4 min read
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Albemarle Corporation ALB recorded a profit of $424.6 million or $3.62 per share in the second quarter of 2021, up from $85.6 million or 80 cents per share it earned a year ago. The bottom line in the reported quarter includes a gain on the sale of the Fine Chemistry Services business.

Adjusted earnings for the reported quarter were 89 cents per share, up from 86 cents a year ago. It topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 83 cents.

Revenues rose roughly 1% year over year to $773.9 million in the quarter. It missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $787.1 million. The top line was aided by higher sales from the company's Lithium and Bromine business segments.

Albemarle Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Albemarle Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Albemarle Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Albemarle Corporation price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Albemarle Corporation Quote

Segment Highlights

Sales from the Lithium unit rose around 13% year over year to $320.3 million in the reported quarter, aided by higher volumes (up 17%) that more than offset lower pricing. Prices fell 4% due to lower carbonate and technical grade product pricing. Adjusted EBITDA was up roughly 16% year over year to $109.4 million, aided by higher sales.

The Bromine Specialties segment recorded sales of $279.7 million, up around 20% year over year. Sales were supported by higher demand for products across the portfolio and improved volumes and pricing. Adjusted EBITDA was $92.6 million, up around 27% year over year. The company’s cost-savings initiatives and pricing offset higher raw materials costs.

The Catalysts unit recorded revenues of $148.3 million in the reported quarter, down around 25% year over year, hurt by lower volumes. Prices were flat in the quarter. Fluid Catalytic Cracking volumes fell modestly, impacted by a change in order patterns from a large North American customer. Adjusted EBITDA was $21.2 million, down roughly 7% year over year, impacted by lower sales.

Financial Position

Albemarle ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of roughly $823.6 million, up around 12% year over year. Long-term debt was $2,043.8 million, down around 35% year over year.

Cash flow from operations was $385.9 million for the six months ended Jun 30, 2021, up around 86% year over year.

Outlook

Moving ahead, Albemarle expects its performance for full-year 2021 to improve modestly on a year-over-year basis on a sustained recovery in global economic activities.

The company expects net sales for 2021 to be between $3.2 billion and $3.3 billion. It sees higher Lithium sales and improving trends in Catalysts. However, expectations for the Bromine business are reduced due to an increase in raw material costs and supply chain disruptions.

Moreover, Albemarle now sees adjusted earnings per share for 2021 in the band of $3.35-$3.70, up from its prior view of $3.25 to $3.65.

Price Performance

Albemarle’s shares are up 133.5% over a year compared with a 34.9% rise of its industry.

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Zacks Investment Research


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Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Albemarle currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Better-ranked stocks worth considering in the basic materials space include Nucor Corporation NUE, ArcelorMittal MT and Cabot Corporation CBT, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Nucor has a projected earnings growth rate of 422.2% for the current year. The company’s shares have surged around 141% in a year.

ArcelorMittal has an expected earnings growth rate of 1,683.1% for the current year. The company’s shares have shot up around 186% in the past year.

Cabot has an expected earnings growth rate of around 137.5% for the current fiscal. The company’s shares have gained roughly 38% in the past year.


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