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Albemarle Reports Third-Quarter Sales Growth of 11% and Increases Guidance

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 3, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) today announced its results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2021.

Albemarle Corp. Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Albemarle Corporation)
Albemarle Corp. Logo. (PRNewsFoto/Albemarle Corporation)

Third-Quarter 2021 Highlights
(Unless otherwise stated, all percent changes are based on year-over-year comparisons)

  • Net sales of $830.6 million, an increase of 11%; Net sales increased 19% excluding FCS

  • Net loss of ($392.8) million, or ($3.36) per diluted share

  • Adjusted diluted EPS of $1.05, a decrease of 4%, excludes a $4.29 per share charge for a recent arbitration decision

  • Adjusted EBITDA of $217.6 million, an increase of 1%; Adjusted EBITDA increased 14% excluding FCS

  • Increased FY 2021 guidance based on strong third-quarter performance

  • Announced agreement to acquire Guangxi Tianyuan New Energy Materials (Tianyuan), which includes a lithium conversion plant (Qinzhou) designed to produce 25,000 mtpa with the potential to expand to 50,000 mtpa

  • Announced agreements for strategic investments in China with plans to build two lithium hydroxide conversion plants, each initially targeting 50,000 mtpa

  • MARBL Lithium Joint Venture (MARBL) to restart operations at the Wodgina Lithium Mine in Australia

  • Advanced deployment of Albemarle Way of Excellence (AWE) operating model and submitted sustainability disclosure report to CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project)

"Despite supply chain challenges and increased raw material costs last quarter, we continued to deliver solid revenue and adjusted EBITDA growth," said Albemarle CEO Kent Masters. "In October, we achieved first lithium carbonate production at our new La Negra III/IV conversion facility. We are making investments to add significant conversion capacity in China, initially targeting up to 150,000 metric tons of lithium hydroxide per year which will provide high-return growth opportunities aligned with the increasing demand from our customers."

Outlook

Albemarle's improved outlook for full-year 2021 reflects a strong third-quarter performance and assumes continued global economic recovery as well as a modest improvement in operating performance compared to full-year 2020. Full-year 2021 net sales guidance was revised higher which reflects higher volumes in its Lithium business and stronger pricing in its Bromine businesses. Adjusted EBITDA guidance improved due to higher net sales, as well as lower corporate costs and higher-than-expected Catalysts joint venture income. Capital expenditures were revised higher due to accelerated investments in growth, tight labor markets, and COVID-related travel restrictions in Western Australia.



FY 2021 Guidance(1)

Net sales


$3.3 - $3.4 billion

Adjusted EBITDA


$830 - $860 million

Adjusted EBITDA Margin


~25%

Adjusted Diluted EPS


$3.85 - $4.15

Net Cash from Operations


$550 - $650 million

Capital Expenditures


$925 - $975 million


(1)

Guidance reflects the sale of Albemarle's Fine Chemistry Services (FCS) business to W.R. Grace which closed on June 1, 2021.

COVID-19 Response

Albemarle's cross-functional Global Response Team continues to meet regularly to address employee health and safety and operational challenges. The company's priority is always the health and well-being of its employees, customers, and communities. The company continues to focus on building in the flexibility needed to adjust for regional differences and changing conditions.

Third-Quarter Results

In millions, except per share amounts

Q3 2021


Q3 2020


$ Change


% Change

Net sales

$

830.6



$

746.9



$

83.7



11.2

%

Net (loss) income attributable to Albemarle
Corporation

$

(392.8)



$

98.3



$

(491.1)



(499.6)

%

Adjusted EBITDA(a)

$

217.6



$

216.1



$

1.5



0.7

%

Diluted earnings per share

$

(3.36)



$

0.92



$

(4.28)



(465.2)

%

Non-operating pension and OPEB items(a)

(0.04)



(0.02)






Non-recurring and other unusual items(a)

4.42



0.19






Adjusted diluted earnings per share(a)(b)

$

1.05



$

1.09



$

(0.04)



(3.7)

%


(a)

See Non-GAAP Reconciliations for further details.

(b)

Totals may not add due to rounding.

Net sales of $830.6 million increased by $83.7 million compared to the prior-year quarter, primarily driven by an increase in sales from the company's Lithium and Bromine businesses, partially offset by the loss of revenue from its Fine Chemistry Services (FCS) business which was sold on June 1, 2021.

Adjusted EBITDA of $217.6 million increased by $1.5 million from the prior-year quarter primarily due to higher Lithium results, offset by the sale of FCS and an expense of $13.5 million for the correction of out-of-period errors regarding misstated inventory foreign exchange values relating to prior periods.

Net loss attributable to Albemarle of ($392.8) million includes a $657.4 million ($504.5 million after income taxes) charge related to a recent arbitration decision on a dispute regarding Huntsman Corporation's acquisition of Rockwood's Pigments & Additives business in 2014. The Huntsman-Rockwood dispute is a legacy dispute that Albemarle inherited when it purchased all outstanding equity of Rockwood Holdings, Inc. in 2015, acquiring its lithium and other business lines unrelated to the dispute. The company continues to assess its legal rights and options. Albemarle and Huntsman have initiated discussions regarding a resolution of the matter.

The effective income tax rate for the third quarter of 2021 was 22.2% compared to 25.2% in the same period of 2020. The difference is largely due to a $152.9 million tax benefit recorded in Q3 2021 related to an accrual recorded for a legal arbitration ruling. On an adjusted basis, the effective income tax rates were 19.2% and 16.7% for the third quarter of 2021 and 2020, respectively.

Business Segment Results

Lithium

In millions

Q3 2021


Q3 2020


$ Change


% Change

Net Sales

$

359.2



$

265.6



$

93.6



35.2

%

Adjusted EBITDA

$

125.4



$

97.8



$

27.6



28.3

%

Lithium net sales of $359.2 million increased $93.6 million (+35%) primarily due to higher volume (+30%) from tolling to help meet growing customer demand and higher pricing and FX (+5%). Adjusted EBITDA of $125.4 million increased $27.6 million primarily due to increased net sales and higher volume at its Talison joint venture.

Current Trends: Full-year 2021 adjusted EBITDA is expected to grow in the mid- to high-teens year over year, up from previous guidance. Volume growth for full-year 2021 is expected to grow in the mid-teens driven primarily by tolling. Average realized pricing is expected to increase sequentially due to tightening market conditions and full-year pricing will be flat to slightly higher compared to 2020. Full-year 2021 average margin is expected to remain below 35% due to higher costs related to project start-ups and tolling, partially offset by productivity improvements.

Albemarle remains on track to complete construction of Kemerton I by the end of the year with sales expected to begin in the second half of 2022. Due to the ongoing labor shortages and pandemic-related travel restrictions in Western Australia, Kemerton II is now expected to complete construction in the second half of 2022.

During the quarter, the company made significant progress on its Wave 3 lithium expansion projects. Albemarle entered an agreement to acquire Tianyuan, which owns a lithium conversion plant, Qinzhou, designed to produce up to 25,000 metric tons per annum and with the potential to expand to 50,000 metric tons per annum. Additionally, it entered agreements for strategic investments in China and will move forward with design, engineering, and permitting plans to build two new lithium hydroxide conversion plants, each initially targeting 50,000 metric tons per annum.

Our MARBL joint venture recently announced plans to restart one of the Wodgina mine's three processing lines, each of which has installed processing capacity of 250,000 metric tons per annum of spodumene concentrate. Production is expected to begin in the third quarter of 2022.

Bromine Specialties

In millions

Q3 2021


Q3 2020


$ Change


% Change

Net Sales

$

277.8



$

237.2



$

40.6



17.1

%

Adjusted EBITDA

$

86.0



$

79.4



$

6.6



8.3

%

Bromine net sales of $277.8 million increased $40.6 million (+17%) owing to strong pricing and FX (+17%) while volume remained flat (0%). Pricing was driven by high demand across the product portfolio and tight market conditions. Adjusted EBITDA of $86.0 million increased $6.6 million due to higher net sales, partially offset by higher costs for raw materials and freight. While sales increased during the quarter, the lack of inventory and a force majeure declaration by the company's chlorine supplier limited the company's ability to capitalize on strong demand strength and increased brine production capacity.

Current Trends: The company expects full-year 2021 adjusted EBITDA growth in the low-double digits, up from previous guidance due to strength in demand for flame retardants, as well as benefiting from diverse end markets. Volumes will remain constrained during the remainder of the year due to sold-out conditions and the lack of inventory. Bromine's ongoing cost savings initiatives and higher pricing are expected to partially offset higher freight and raw material costs.

Catalysts

In millions

Q3 2021


Q3 2020


$ Change


% Change

Net Sales

$

193.6



$

197.9



$

(4.4)



(2.2)

%

Adjusted EBITDA

$

33.1



$

37.8



$

(4.7)



(12.5)

%

Catalysts net sales of $193.6 million decreased $4.4 million (-2%) compared to the previous year, primarily due to slightly lower volume (-1%) and pricing and FX (-1%). Adjusted EBITDA of $33.1 million declined $4.7 million mostly due to lower sales and cost pressures, partially offset by higher-than-expected equity income.

Current Trends: The company revised its expectations for full-year 2021 adjusted EBITDA to decline between 20% and 25%, an improvement from previous guidance, owing to higher-than-expected joint venture income. The year-over-year decline in adjusted EBITDA is primarily due to the impact of the U.S. Gulf Coast winter storm, product mix, and the previously disclosed change in a customer's order patterns during the first quarter. While market conditions continue to improve, volumes are not expected to return to pre-pandemic levels before late 2022 or 2023.

All Other

In millions

Q3 2021


Q3 2020


$ Change


% Change

Net Sales

$



$

46.1



$

(46.1)



(100.0)

%

Adjusted EBITDA

$



$

25.0



$

(25.0)



(100.0)

%

Other operations represent the FCS business which was sold on June 1, 2021.

Balance Sheet and Liquidity

As of September 30, 2021, Albemarle had estimated liquidity of approximately $2.0 billion, including $595.0 million of cash and equivalents, the full $1.0 billion available under the company's revolver, $270.0 million remaining under its delayed draw term loan and $131.5 million on other available credit lines. Total debt was $2.0 billion, representing net debt to adjusted EBITDA of approximately 1.7 times.

Cash Flow and Capital Deployment

Cash from operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, of $490.6 million increased $28.9 million versus the prior year driven by working capital inflows and higher revenues in the company's Lithium and Bromine segments. Capital expenditures of $652.7 million increased by $31.4 million versus the prior year as the company nears completion of its Wave 2 Lithium expansion projects.

Albemarle's primary capital allocation priorities are to grow profitably, fund its dividend, and maintain its financial flexibility and its Investment Grade credit rating.

In October, the board declared a quarterly dividend of $0.39 per share, an increase over the quarterly dividend paid in 2020. This is Albemarle's 27th consecutive year of a dividend increase. The company's share repurchase authorization remains in place; however, the company has no near-term plans to execute share buybacks.

Earnings Call

Date:

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Time:

9:00 AM Eastern time

Dial-in (U.S.):

844-347-1034

Dial-in (International):

209-905-5910

Passcode:

6875708

The company's earnings presentation and supporting material are available on Albemarle's website at https://investors.albemarle.com.

About Albemarle

Albemarle Corporation (NYSE: ALB) is a global specialty chemicals company with leading positions in lithium, bromine and refining catalysts. We think beyond business as usual to power the potential of companies in many of the world's largest and most critical industries, such as energy, electronics, and transportation. We actively pursue a sustainable approach to managing our diverse global footprint of world-class resources. In conjunction with our highly experienced and talented global teams, our deep-seated values, and our collaborative customer relationships, we create value-added and performance-based solutions that enable a safer and more sustainable future.

We regularly post information to www.albemarle.com, including notification of events, news, financial performance, investor presentations and webcasts, non-GAAP reconciliations, SEC filings and other information regarding our company, its businesses and the markets it serves.

Forward-Looking Statements

Some of the information presented in this press release, the conference call and discussions that follow, including, without limitation, information related to the timing of active and proposed projects, product development, production capacity, committed volumes, market trends, pricing, financial flexibility, expected growth, anticipated return on opportunities, earnings and demand for our products, input costs, productivity improvements, surcharges, tax rates, stock repurchases, dividends, cash flow generation, costs and cost synergies, capital projects, future acquisition and divestiture transactions, expected benefits from proposed transactions, economic trends, outlook and all other information relating to matters that are not historical facts may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results could differ materially from the views expressed. Factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the outlook expressed or implied in any forward-looking statement include, without limitation: changes in economic and business conditions; changes in financial and operating performance of our major customers and industries and markets served by us; the timing of orders received from customers; the gain or loss of significant customers; competition from other manufacturers; changes in the demand for our products or the end-user markets in which our products are sold; limitations or prohibitions on the manufacture and sale of our products; availability of raw materials; increases in the cost of raw materials and energy, and our ability to pass through such increases to our customers; changes in our markets in general; fluctuations in foreign currencies; changes in laws and government regulation impacting our operations or our products; the occurrence of regulatory actions, proceedings, claims or litigation; the occurrence of cyber-security breaches, terrorist attacks, industrial accidents, natural disasters or climate change; hazards associated with chemicals manufacturing; the inability to maintain current levels of product or premises liability insurance or the denial of such coverage; political unrest affecting the global economy, including adverse effects from terrorism or hostilities; political instability affecting our manufacturing operations or joint ventures; changes in accounting standards; the inability to achieve results from our global manufacturing cost reduction initiatives as well as our ongoing continuous improvement and rationalization programs; changes in the jurisdictional mix of our earnings and changes in tax laws and rates; changes in monetary policies, inflation or interest rates that may impact our ability to raise capital or increase our cost of funds, impact the performance of our pension fund investments and increase our pension expense and funding obligations; volatility and uncertainties in the debt and equity markets; technology or intellectual property infringement, including cyber-security breaches, and other innovation risks; decisions we may make in the future; the ability to successfully execute, operate and integrate acquisitions and divestitures; uncertainties as to the duration and impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic; and the other factors detailed from time to time in the reports we file with the SEC, including those described under "Risk Factors" in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K any subsequently filed Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q. These forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this press release. We assume no obligation to provide any revisions to any forward-looking statements should circumstances change, except as otherwise required by securities and other applicable laws.

Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries

Consolidated Statements of Income

(In Thousands Except Per Share Amounts) (Unaudited)



Three Months Ended


Nine Months Ended


September 30,


September 30,


2021


2020


2021


2020

Net sales

$

830,566



$

746,868



$

2,433,753



$

2,249,762


Cost of goods sold

581,293



492,812



1,672,376



1,520,329


Gross profit

249,273



254,056



761,377



729,433


Selling, general and administrative expenses

103,477



96,092



318,180



304,918


Research and development expenses

13,289



13,532



41,901



43,839


Gain on sale of business

984





(428,424)




Operating profit

131,523



144,432



829,720



380,676


Interest and financing expenses

(5,136)



(19,227)



(56,170)



(53,964)


Other expense, net

(643,196)



(3,661)



(631,870)



(1,620)


(Loss) income before income taxes and equity in net
income of unconsolidated investments

(516,809)



121,544



141,680



325,092


Income tax (benefit) expense

(114,670)



30,653



14,422



64,526


(Loss) income before equity in net income of
unconsolidated investments

(402,139)



90,891



127,258



260,566


Equity in net income of unconsolidated investments (net of
tax)

27,706



26,154



62,215



83,872


Net (loss) income

(374,433)



117,045



189,473



344,438


Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests

(18,348)



(18,744)



(61,977)



(53,309)


Net (loss) income attributable to Albemarle Corporation

$

(392,781)



$

98,301



$

127,496



$

291,129


Basic (loss) earnings per share

$

(3.36)



$

0.92



$

1.10



$

2.74


Diluted (loss) earnings per share

$

(3.36)



$

0.92



$

1.10



$

2.73










Weighted-average common shares outstanding – basic

116,965



106,386



115,455



106,314


Weighted-average common shares outstanding – diluted

116,965



106,873



116,140



106,640


Albemarle Corporation and Subsidiaries

Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheets

(In Thousands) (Unaudited)



September 30,


December 31,


2021


2020

ASSETS




Current assets:




Cash and cash equivalents

$

595,049



$

746,724


Trade accounts receivable

520,746



530,838


Other accounts receivable

56,298



61,958


Inventories

745,598



750,237


Other current assets

160,415



116,427


Total current assets

2,078,106



2,206,184


Property, plant and equipment

7,783,962



7,427,641


Less accumulated depreciation and amortization

2,128,485



2,073,016


Net property, plant and equipment

5,655,477



5,354,625


Investments

902,504



656,244


Other assets

251,786



219,268


Goodwill

1,623,471



1,665,520


Other intangibles, net of amortization

320,981



...