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Albemarle (ALB) Issues Q4 Preliminary Results, Provides FY21 View

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Albemarle Corporation ALB announced estimated preliminary results for fourth-quarter 2020 ended Dec 31, 2020.

The company expects net sales for the quarter in the band of $870-$880 million, which suggests a decline of 11-12% year-over-year but above the earlier guidance. Net income is projected to be $77-$87 million, indicating a fall of 3-15% with earnings per share (EPS) of 73-81 cents.

Adjusted EPS is expected in the range of $1.11-$1.19. Projected adjusted EBITDA is in the range of $213-$223 million, which calls for a decline of 24-28% year-over-year but up from the prior guidance.

The company also expects full-year 2021 results to improve compared with 2020 levels, owing to the economic recovery following the pandemic. It anticipates the lithium business to witness lower pricing, offset by higher volumes. Higher lithium costs associated with project start-ups are expected to be partly offset by improved efficiency.

The Bromine performance is projected to improve on the back of higher volumes as well as savings initiatives expected to offset inflation. Although the company’s catalysts business is witnessing recovery from low levels in 2020, it is expected to be below pre-pandemic levels due to a slow recovery of refining capacity utilization and margins.

Moreover, capital expenditures are projected to be roughly flat year-over-year, but above the prior guidance. The upside can be attributed to accelerated Lithium growth and additional conversation capacity projects.

Albemarle is slated to release fourth-quarter results after the closing bell on Feb 17.

Shares of Albemarle have surged 87.2% in the past year compared with 21.1% rise of the industry.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

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

Some better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are Fortescue Metals Group Limited FSUGY, BHP Group BHP and Impala Platinum Holdings Limited IMPUY.

Fortescue has a projected earnings growth rate of 74.2% for the current fiscal. The company’s shares have surged around 124.2% in a year. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1(Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

BHP has an expected earnings growth rate of 59.5% for the current fiscal. The company’s shares have gained around 28.6% in the past year. It currently flaunts a Zacks Rank #1.

Impala has an expected earnings growth rate of 189.4% for the current fiscal. The company’s shares have rallied around 37.9% in the past year. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1.

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