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Celanese Corporation Reports First Quarter Earnings; Reaffirms 2017 Outlook

DALLAS--(BUSINESS WIRE)--

Celanese Corporation (CE), a global technology and specialty materials company, today reported first quarter 2017 GAAP diluted earnings per share of $1.30 and adjusted earnings per share of $1.81. The core operating models and company-wide productivity initiatives drove strong performance in the quarter. Advanced Engineered Materials expanded the opportunity pipeline and commercialized high value-add customer solutions across product lines while the Acetyl Chain exercised system-wide optionality, positioning Celanese for growth through the year. The primary difference between GAAP and non-GAAP results is from charges related to the Nanjing, China ethanol unit.

   

First Quarter 2017 Financial Highlights:

 
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2017     2016
(unaudited)
(In $ millions)
Operating Profit (Loss)
Advanced Engineered Materials 98 88
Consumer Specialties 68   78  
Total Materials Solutions 166   166  
Industrial Specialties 25 31
Acetyl Intermediates 27 114
Eliminations    
Total Acetyl Chain 52   145  
Other Activities (26 ) (24 )
Total 192   287  
   
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2017     2016
(unaudited)
(In $ millions, except per share data)
Net Earnings (Loss) 184 259
 
Adjusted EBIT(1)(2)
Advanced Engineered Materials 143 120
Consumer Specialties   100     106  
Total Materials Solutions   243     226  
Industrial Specialties 25 33
Acetyl Intermediates 83 115
Eliminations        
Total Acetyl Chain   108     148  
Other Activities   (18 )   (16 )
Total   333     358  
 
Equity Earnings, Cost-Dividend Income, Other Income (Expense)
Advanced Engineered Materials 42 31
Consumer Specialties   30     28  
Total Materials Solutions   72     59  
 
Operating EBITDA(1) 404 431
Diluted EPS - continuing operations $ 1.30 $ 1.73
Diluted EPS - total $ 1.30 $ 1.73
Adjusted EPS(1) $ 1.81 $ 1.83
 
Net cash provided by (used in) investing activities (64 ) (75 )
Net cash provided by (used in) financing activities (270 ) (473 )
Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities 192 287
Free cash flow(1) 126 217
______________________________

(1)

  See "Non-US GAAP Financial Measures" below.
 

(2)

The company's discussion of adjusted earnings includes use of terms such as "segment income" and "core income." Those non-GAAP terms are defined below and reconciled in our Non-US GAAP Financial Measures and Supplemental Information document below.

 

First Quarter 2017 Highlights:

  • Generated highest-ever organic volumes in Advanced Engineered Materials, a double-digit increase over the prior year, by advancing solutions growth across product lines.
  • Closed a record 513 projects in the first quarter of 2017, a 70 percent increase from the same period last year, in engineered materials (Advanced Engineered Materials excluding affiliates). On pace to commercialize 1,900 projects for the year, 37 percent higher than 2016.
  • Signed a 15-year agreement with Praxair to buy high-purity carbon monoxide from a new, state-of-the-art facility, which will enhance the flexibility of critical raw material supply and solidify future growth opportunities for Celanese.
  • Named a 2017 ENERGY STAR Partner of the Year – Energy Management Award winner for outstanding efforts to improve the energy efficiency of Celanese's buildings and facilities.
  • Announced the election of Bennie W. Fowler, Group VP, Global Quality and New Model Launch, Ford Motor Company, and David C. Parry, former Vice Chairman of Illinois Tool Works, Inc., to the Board of Directors.

"This quarter's success reflects ongoing performance growth in our commercial models, growth in global markets, and our ability to identify and realize unique market opportunities," said Mark Rohr, chairman and chief executive officer. "Good cash flow in the first quarter supported our strong program of returning cash to shareholders. We repurchased 1.5 million shares and distributed $51 million in dividends, returning a total of $179 million cash."

First Quarter 2017 Business Segment Overview

Materials Solutions

Materials Solutions' GAAP operating income was consistent year over year and core income was 8 percent higher for the first quarter. Advanced Engineered Materials generated its second highest ever GAAP operating profit of $98 million and the highest ever segment income of $143 million. Volume was a record high driven by the commercialization of new pipeline opportunities, growth in Asia, and the SO.F.TER. integration. Including SO.F.TER., 513 new projects were commercialized in the quarter, a 70 percent increase over the first quarter of last year. The record number of projects demonstrates how the pipeline model has successfully evolved to manage the growing complexity of a project-based business model.

Tow volume and pricing were lower than the same quarter in 2016 mainly due to lower industry capacity utilization rates. The impact of lower tow volume and pricing more than offset productivity improvements and higher flake volume in the quarter.

Affiliate earnings in Materials Solutions were $13 million higher than the same quarter in 2016 primarily due to strong performance at the Fortron affiliate and solid demand at the Advanced Engineered Materials' Asian affiliates.

Acetyl Chain

The Acetyl Chain's leadership positions and global presence helped to manage through a tough operating environment and increase price year over year across product lines. Volume was lower versus the same quarter last year as the first quarter of 2016 benefited from incremental volume due to overlapping contracts which did not repeat in 2017. Lower volume was also driven by a choice to sell less VAM in China due to competitive dynamics. Sequentially, GAAP operating margin was lower in the first quarter of 2017 mainly due to charges related to the Nanjing, China ethanol facility, but core income margin expanded sequentially driven by the discipline and flexibility in the chain. Industry conditions improved each month through the first quarter, staging the business for increased profitability going forward.

Cash Flow

The company recorded operating cash flow of $192 million and generated $126 million of free cash flow. Capital expenditures in the quarter were $62 million. An aggregate of $179 million of cash was returned to shareholders in the first quarter of 2017 with $128 million in share buy-backs and $51 million in dividends. The company is on pace to meet its $500 million share buyback commitment for 2017.

Outlook

"The first quarter of 2017 was another strong quarter for Celanese. Our differentiated commercial approach and operating discipline in both businesses has allowed us to create value for customers and shareholders. Our Advanced Engineered Materials opportunity pipeline, enhanced by SO.F.TER. and Nilit integrations, will continue to drive growth in 2017 and offset the decline in tow earnings. The Acetyl Chain is well-positioned to benefit from a volatile raw materials environment and the current industry operating backdrop to improve profits as the year progresses. While we anticipate challenges in 2017, we have plans in place to offset these headwinds and deliver growth in adjusted earnings per share of 8-11 percent," said Rohr.

We are unable to reconcile forecasted adjusted earnings per share growth to US GAAP diluted earnings per share without unreasonable efforts because a forecast of Certain Items, such as mark-to-market pension gains/losses, is not practical.

The company's earnings presentation and prepared remarks related to the first quarter results will be posted on its website at www.celanese.com under Investor Relations/Events and Presentations after market close on April 17, 2017. Information about Non-US GAAP measures is included in a Non-US GAAP Financial Measures and Supplemental Information document posted on the website and available at the link below. See "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" below.

Celanese Corporation is a global technology leader in the production of differentiated chemistry solutions and specialty materials used in most major industries and consumer applications. Our two complementary business cores, Acetyl Chain and Materials Solutions, use the full breadth of Celanese's global chemistry, technology and business expertise to create value for our customers and the corporation. As we partner with our customers to solve their most critical business needs, we strive to make a positive impact on our communities and the world through The Celanese Foundation. Based in Dallas, Celanese employs approximately 7,300 employees worldwide and had 2016 net sales of $5.4 billion. For more information about Celanese Corporation and its product offerings, visit www.celanese.com or our blog at www.celaneseblog.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This release may contain "forward-looking statements," which include information concerning the company's plans, objectives, goals, strategies, future revenues or performance, capital expenditures, financing needs and other information that is not historical information. All forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and beliefs and various assumptions, including the announced stock purchase transaction. There can be no assurance that the company will realize these expectations or that these beliefs will prove correct. There are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the results expressed or implied in the forward-looking statements contained in this release, including with respect to the acquisitions. These risks and uncertainties include, among other things: changes in general economic, business, political and regulatory conditions in the countries or regions in which we operate; the length and depth of product and industry business cycles, particularly in the automotive, electrical, textiles, electronics and construction industries; changes in the price and availability of raw materials, particularly changes in the demand for, supply of, and market prices of ethylene, methanol, natural gas, wood pulp and fuel oil and the prices for electricity and other energy sources; the ability to pass increases in raw material prices on to customers or otherwise improve margins through price increases; the ability to maintain plant utilization rates and to implement planned capacity additions and expansions; the ability to reduce or maintain their current levels of production costs and to improve productivity by implementing technological improvements to existing plants; increased price competition and the introduction of competing products by other companies; market acceptance of our technology; the ability to obtain governmental approvals and to construct facilities on terms and schedules acceptable to the company; changes in the degree of intellectual property and other legal protection afforded to our products or technologies, or the theft of such intellectual property; compliance and other costs and potential disruption or interruption of production or operations due to accidents, interruptions in sources of raw materials, cyber security incidents, terrorism or political unrest or other unforeseen events or delays in construction or operation of facilities, including as a result of geopolitical conditions, the occurrence of acts of war or terrorist incidents or as a result of weather or natural disasters; potential liability for remedial actions and increased costs under existing or future environmental regulations, including those relating to climate change; potential liability resulting from pending or future litigation, or from changes in the laws, regulations or policies of governments or other governmental activities in the countries in which we operate; changes in currency exchange rates and interest rates; our level of indebtedness, which could diminish our ability to raise additional capital to fund operations or limit our ability to react to changes in the economy or the chemicals industry; and various other factors discussed from time to time in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which it is made, and the company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which it is made or to reflect the occurrence of anticipated or unanticipated events or circumstances.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Presentation

This document presents the Company's business segments in two subtotals, reflecting our two cores, the Acetyl Chain and Materials Solutions, based on similarities among customers, business models and technical processes. As described in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, the Acetyl Chain includes the Company's Acetyl Intermediates segment and the Industrial Specialties segment. Materials Solutions includes the Company's Advanced Engineered Materials segment and the Consumer Specialties segment.

Use of Non-US GAAP Financial Information

This release uses the following Non-US GAAP measures: adjusted EBIT, adjusted EBIT margin, operating EBITDA, adjusted earnings per share and free cash flow. These measures are not recognized in accordance with US GAAP and should not be viewed as an alternative to US GAAP measures of performance or liquidity. The most directly comparable financial measure presented in accordance with US GAAP in our consolidated financial statements for adjusted EBIT and operating EBITDA is net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation; for adjusted EBIT margin is operating margin; for adjusted earnings per share is earnings (loss) from continuing operations attributable to Celanese Corporation per common share-diluted; and for free cash flow is net cash provided by (used in) operations.

Definitions of Non-US GAAP Financial Measures

  • Adjusted EBIT is a performance measure used by the Company and is defined by the Company as net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation, plus (earnings) loss from discontinued operations, less interest income, plus interest expense, plus refinancing expense and taxes, and further adjusted for Certain Items (refer to Table 8 of our Non-US GAAP Financial Measures and Supplemental Information document). We may provide guidance on adjusted EBIT but are unable to reconcile forecasted adjusted EBIT to a US GAAP financial measure without unreasonable efforts because a forecast of Certain Items, such as mark-to-market pension gains and losses, which may be significant, is not practical. Adjusted EBIT margin is defined by the Company as adjusted EBIT divided by net sales.
  • Adjusted EBIT by core (i.e. Acetyl Chain and/or Materials Solutions) may also be referred to by management as core income. Adjusted EBIT margin by core may also be referred to by management as core income margin. Adjusted EBIT by business segment may also be referred to by management as segment income. Adjusted EBIT margin by business segment may also be referred to by management as segment income margin.
  • Operating EBITDA is a performance measure used by the Company and is defined by the Company as net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation, plus (earnings) loss from discontinued operations, less interest income, plus interest expense, plus refinancing expense, taxes and depreciation and amortization, and further adjusted for Certain Items, which Certain Items include accelerated depreciation and amortization expense. Operating EBITDA is equal to adjusted EBIT plus depreciation and amortization.
  • Adjusted earnings per share is a performance measure used by the Company and is defined by the Company as earnings (loss) from continuing operations attributable to Celanese Corporation, adjusted for income tax (provision) benefit, Certain Items, and refinancing and related expenses, divided by the number of basic common shares and dilutive restricted stock units and stock options calculated using the treasury method. We may provide guidance on adjusted earnings per share but are unable to reconcile forecasted adjusted earnings per share to a US GAAP financial measure without unreasonable efforts because a forecast of Certain Items, such as mark-to-market pension gains and losses, which may be significant, is not practical.

    Note: The income tax expense (benefit) on Certain Items ("Non-GAAP adjustments") is determined using the applicable rates in the taxing jurisdictions in which the Non-GAAP adjustments occurred and includes both current and deferred income tax expense (benefit). The income tax rate used for adjusted earnings per share approximates the midpoint in a range of forecasted tax rates for the year. This range may include certain partial or full-year forecasted tax opportunities and related costs, where applicable, and specifically excludes changes in uncertain tax positions, discrete recognition of GAAP items on a quarterly basis, other pre-tax items adjusted out of our GAAP earnings for adjusted earnings per share purposes and changes in management's assessments regarding the ability to realize deferred tax assets for GAAP. In determining the adjusted earnings per share tax rate, we reflect the impact of foreign tax credits when utilized, or expected to be utilized, absent discrete events impacting the timing of foreign tax credit utilization. We analyze this rate quarterly and adjust it if there is a material change in the range of forecasted tax rates; an updated forecast would not necessarily result in a change to our tax rate used for adjusted earnings per share. The adjusted tax rate is an estimate and may differ from the actual tax rate used for GAAP reporting in any given reporting period. Table 3a of our Non-US GAAP Financial Measures and Supplemental Information document summarizes the reconciliation of our estimated GAAP effective tax rate to the adjusted tax rate. The estimated GAAP rate excludes discrete recognition of GAAP items due to our inability to forecast such items. As part of the year-end reconciliation, we will update the reconciliation of the GAAP effective tax rate to the adjusted tax rate for actual results.
  • Free cash flow is a liquidity measure used by the Company and is defined by the Company as cash flow from operations, less capital expenditures on property, plant and equipment, and adjusted for capital contributions from or distributions to Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui") related to our methanol joint venture, Fairway Methanol LLC ("Fairway").

Reconciliation of Non-US GAAP Financial Measures

Reconciliations of the Non-US GAAP financial measures used in this press release to the comparable US GAAP financial measure, together with information about the purposes and uses of Non-US GAAP financial measures, are included in our Non-US GAAP Financial Measures and Supplemental Information document filed as an exhibit to our Current Report on Form 8-K filed with the SEC on or about April 17, 2017 and also available on our website at www.celanese.com under Financial Information, Non-GAAP Financial Measures, or at this link: http://investors.celanese.com/interactive/lookandfeel/4103411/Non-GAAP.PDF.

Results Unaudited

The results in this document, together with the adjustments made to present the results on a comparable basis, have not been audited and are based on internal financial data furnished to management. Quarterly results should not be taken as an indication of the results of operations to be reported for any subsequent period or for the full fiscal year.

Supplemental Information

Additional information about our prior period performance is included in our Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and in our Non-US GAAP Financial Measures and Supplemental Information document.

   
 

Consolidated Statements of Operations - Unaudited

 
Three Months Ended
March 31,
2017     2016
(In $ millions, except share and per share data)
Net sales 1,471 1,404
Cost of sales (1,119 ) (1,014 )
Gross profit 352 390
Selling, general and administrative expenses (83 ) (80 )
Amortization of intangible assets (4 ) (2 )
Research and development expenses (17 ) (19 )
Other (charges) gains, net (55 ) (5 )
Foreign exchange gain (loss), net 3
Gain (loss) on disposition of businesses and asset, net (1 )  
Operating profit (loss) 192 287
Equity in net earnings (loss) of affiliates 47 38
Interest expense (29 ) (33 )
Refinancing expense (2 )
Interest income 1
Dividend income - cost investments 29 27
Other income (expense), net 1    
Earnings (loss) from continuing operations before tax 240 318
Income tax (provision) benefit (56 ) (60 )
Earnings (loss) from continuing operations 184   258  
Earnings (loss) from operation of discontinued operations 1
Income tax (provision) benefit from discontinued operations    
Earnings (loss) from discontinued operations   1  
Net earnings (loss) 184 259
Net (earnings) loss attributable to noncontrolling interests (1 ) (2 )
Net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation 183   257  
Amounts attributable to Celanese Corporation
Earnings (loss) from continuing operations 183 256
Earnings (loss) from discontinued operations   1  
Net earnings (loss) 183   257  
Earnings (loss) per common share - basic
Continuing operations 1.30 1.74
Discontinued operations    
Net earnings (loss) - basic 1.30   1.74  
Earnings (loss) per common share - diluted
Continuing operations 1.30 1.73
Discontinued operations    
Net earnings (loss) - diluted 1.30   1.73  
Weighted average shares (in millions)
Basic 140.6 147.4
Diluted 141.0 148.1
       
 

Consolidated Balance Sheets - Unaudited

 

As of
March 31,
2017

As of
December 31,
2016

(In $ millions)
ASSETS
Current Assets
Cash and cash equivalents 501 638
Trade receivables - third party and affiliates, net 886 801
Non-trade receivables, net 216 223
Inventories 717 720
Marketable securities, at fair value 31 30
Other assets 38   60  
Total current assets 2,389   2,472  
Investments in affiliates 874 852
Property, plant and equipment, net 3,571 3,577
Deferred income taxes 154 159
Other assets 308 307
Goodwill 800 796
Intangible assets, net 192   194  
Total assets 8,288   8,357  
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY
Current Liabilities
Short-term borrowings and current installments of long-term debt - third party and affiliates 107 118
Trade payables - third party and affiliates 615 625
Other liabilities 262 322
Income taxes payable 31   12  
Total current liabilities 1,015   1,077  
Long-term debt, net of unamortized deferred financing costs 2,851 2,890
Deferred income taxes 140 130
Uncertain tax positions 138 131
Benefit obligations 866 893
Other liabilities 237 215
Commitments and Contingencies
Stockholders' Equity
Preferred stock
Common stock
Treasury stock, at cost (1,662 ) (1,531 )
Additional paid-in capital 149 157
Retained earnings 4,451 4,320
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss), net (327 ) (358 )
Total Celanese Corporation stockholders' equity 2,611 2,588
Noncontrolling interests 430   433  
Total equity 3,041   3,021  
Total liabilities and equity 8,288   8,357  
 

Non-US GAAP Financial Measures and Supplemental Information

April 17, 2017

In this document, the terms the "Company," "we" and "our" refer to Celanese Corporation and its subsidiaries on a consolidated basis.

Purpose

The purpose of this document is to provide information of interest to investors, analysts and other parties including supplemental financial information and reconciliations and other information concerning our use of non-US GAAP financial measures. This document is updated quarterly.

Presentation

This document presents the Company's business segments in two subtotals, reflecting our two cores, the Acetyl Chain and Materials Solutions, based on similarities among customers, business models and technical processes. As described in the Company's annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, the Acetyl Chain includes the Company's Acetyl Intermediates segment and the Industrial Specialties segment. Materials Solutions includes the Company's Advanced Engineered Materials segment and the Consumer Specialties segment.

Use of Non-US GAAP Financial Measures

From time to time, management may publicly disclose certain numerical "non-GAAP financial measures" in the course of our earnings releases, financial presentations, earnings conference calls, investor and analyst meetings and otherwise. For these purposes, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") defines a "non-GAAP financial measure" as a numerical measure of historical or future financial performance, financial position or cash flows that excludes amounts, or is subject to adjustments that effectively exclude amounts, included in the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with US GAAP, and vice versa for measures that include amounts, or are subject to adjustments that effectively include amounts, that are excluded from the most directly comparable US GAAP measure so calculated and presented. For these purposes, "GAAP" refers to generally accepted accounting principles in the United States.

Non-GAAP financial measures disclosed by management are provided as additional information to investors, analysts and other parties because the Company believes them to be important supplemental measures for assessing our financial and operating results and as a means to evaluate our financial condition and period-to-period comparisons. These non-GAAP financial measures should be viewed as supplemental to, and should not be considered in isolation or as alternatives to, net earnings (loss), operating profit (loss), operating margin, cash flow from operating activities (together with cash flow from investing and financing activities), earnings per share or any other US GAAP financial measure. These non-GAAP financial measures should be considered within the context of our complete audited and unaudited financial results for the given period, which are available on the Investor Relations/Financial Information/SEC Filings page of our website, www.celanese.com. The definition and method of calculation of the non-GAAP financial measures used herein may be different from other companies' methods for calculating measures with the same or similar titles. Investors, analysts and other parties should understand how another company calculates such non-GAAP financial measures before comparing the other company's non-GAAP financial measures to any of our own. These non-GAAP financial measures may not be indicative of the historical operating results of the Company nor are they intended to be predictive or projections of future results.

Pursuant to the requirements of SEC Regulation G, whenever we refer to a non-GAAP financial measure, we will also present in this document, in the presentation itself or on a Form 8-K in connection with the presentation on the Investor Relations/Financial Information/Non-GAAP Financial Measures page of our website, www.celanese.com, to the extent practicable, the most directly comparable financial measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP, along with a reconciliation of the differences between the non-GAAP financial measure we reference and such comparable GAAP financial measure.

This document includes definitions and reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures used from time to time by the Company.

Specific Measures Used

This document provides information about the following non-GAAP measures: adjusted EBIT, adjusted EBIT margin, operating EBITDA, operating EBITDA margin, operating profit (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation, adjusted earnings per share, net debt, free cash flow and return on invested capital (adjusted). The most directly comparable financial measure presented in accordance with US GAAP in our consolidated financial statements for adjusted EBIT and operating EBITDA is net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation; for adjusted EBIT margin and operating EBITDA margin is operating margin; for operating profit (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation is operating profit (loss); for adjusted earnings per share is earnings (loss) from continuing operations attributable to Celanese Corporation per common share-diluted; for net debt is total debt; for free cash flow is net cash provided by (used in) operations; and for return on invested capital (adjusted) is net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation divided by the sum of the average of beginning and end of the year short- and long-term debt and Celanese Corporation stockholders' equity.

Definitions

  • Adjusted EBIT is a performance measure used by the Company and is defined by the Company as net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation, plus (earnings) loss from discontinued operations, less interest income, plus interest expense, plus refinancing expense and taxes, and further adjusted for Certain Items (refer to Table 8). We believe that adjusted EBIT provides transparent and useful information to management, investors, analysts and other parties in evaluating and assessing our primary operating results from period-to-period after removing the impact of unusual, non-operational or restructuring-related activities that affect comparability. Our management recognizes that adjusted EBIT has inherent limitations because of the excluded items. Adjusted EBIT is one of the measures management uses for planning and budgeting, monitoring and evaluating financial and operating results and as a performance metric in the Company's incentive compensation plan. We may provide guidance on adjusted EBIT but are unable to reconcile forecasted adjusted EBIT to a US GAAP financial measure without unreasonable efforts because a forecast of Certain Items, such as mark-to-market pension gains and losses, which may be significant, is not practical. Adjusted EBIT margin is defined by the Company as adjusted EBIT divided by net sales. Adjusted EBIT margin has the same uses and limitations as Adjusted EBIT.
  • Adjusted EBIT by core (i.e. Acetyl Chain and/or Materials Solutions) may also be referred to by management as core income. Adjusted EBIT margin by core may also be referred to by management as core income margin. Adjusted EBIT by business segment may also be referred to by management as segment income. Adjusted EBIT margin by business segment may also be referred to by management as segment income margin.
  • Operating EBITDA is a performance measure used by the Company and is defined by the Company as net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation, plus (earnings) loss from discontinued operations, less interest income, plus interest expense, plus refinancing expense, taxes and depreciation and amortization, and further adjusted for Certain Items, which Certain Items include accelerated depreciation and amortization expense. Operating EBITDA is equal to adjusted EBIT plus depreciation and amortization. We believe that Operating EBITDA provides transparent and useful information to investors, analysts and other parties in evaluating our operating performance relative to our peer companies. Operating EBITDA margin is defined by the Company as Operating EBITDA divided by net sales. Operating EBITDA margin has the same uses and limitations as Operating EBITDA.
  • Operating profit (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation is defined by the Company as operating profit (loss), less earnings (loss) attributable to noncontrolling interests ("NCI"). We believe that operating profit (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation provides transparent and useful information to management, investors, analysts and other parties in evaluating our core operational performance. Operating margin attributable to Celanese Corporation is defined by the Company as operating profit (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation divided by net sales. Operating margin attributable to Celanese Corporation has the same uses and limitations as Operating profit (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation.
  • Adjusted earnings per share is a performance measure used by the Company and is defined by the Company as earnings (loss) from continuing operations attributable to Celanese Corporation, adjusted for income tax (provision) benefit, Certain Items, and refinancing and related expenses, divided by the number of basic common shares and dilutive restricted stock units and stock options calculated using the treasury method. We believe that adjusted earnings per share provides transparent and useful information to management, investors, analysts and other parties in evaluating and assessing our primary operating results from period-to-period after removing the impact of the above stated items that affect comparability and as a performance metric in the Company's incentive compensation plan. We may provide guidance on adjusted earnings per share but are unable to reconcile forecasted adjusted earnings per share to a GAAP financial measure without unreasonable efforts because a forecast of Certain Items, such as mark-to-market pension gains and losses, which may be significant, is not practical.

    Note: The income tax expense (benefit) on Certain Items ("Non-GAAP adjustments") is determined using the applicable rates in the taxing jurisdictions in which the Non-GAAP adjustments occurred and includes both current and deferred income tax expense (benefit). The income tax rate used for adjusted earnings per share approximates the midpoint in a range of forecasted tax rates for the year. This range may include certain partial or full-year forecasted tax opportunities and related costs, where applicable, and specifically excludes changes in uncertain tax positions, discrete recognition of GAAP items on a quarterly basis, other pre-tax items adjusted out of our GAAP earnings for adjusted earnings per share purposes and changes in management's assessments regarding the ability to realize deferred tax assets for GAAP. In determining the adjusted earnings per share tax rate, we reflect the impact of foreign tax credits when utilized, or expected to be utilized, absent discrete events impacting the timing of foreign tax credit utilization. We analyze this rate quarterly and adjust it if there is a material change in the range of forecasted tax rates; an updated forecast would not necessarily result in a change to our tax rate used for adjusted earnings per share. The adjusted tax rate is an estimate and may differ from the actual tax rate used for GAAP reporting in any given reporting period. Table 3a summarizes the reconciliation of our estimated GAAP effective tax rate to the adjusted tax rate. The estimated GAAP rate excludes discrete recognition of GAAP items due to our inability to forecast such items. As part of the year-end reconciliation, we will update the reconciliation of the GAAP effective tax rate to the adjusted tax rate for actual results.
  • Free cash flow is a liquidity measure used by the Company and is defined by the Company as net cash provided by (used in) operations, less capital expenditures on property, plant and equipment, and adjusted for capital contributions from or distributions to Mitsui & Co., Ltd. ("Mitsui") related to our methanol joint venture, Fairway Methanol LLC ("Fairway"). We believe that free cash flow provides useful information to management, investors, analysts and other parties in evaluating the Company's liquidity and credit quality assessment because it provides an indication of the long-term cash generating ability of our business. Although we use free cash flow as a measure to assess the liquidity generated by our business, the use of free cash flow has important limitations, including that free cash flow does not reflect the cash requirements necessary to service our indebtedness, lease obligations, unconditional purchase obligations or pension and postretirement funding obligations.
  • Net debt is defined by the Company as total debt less cash and cash equivalents. We believe that net debt provides useful information to management, investors, analysts and other parties in evaluating changes to the Company's capital structure and credit quality assessment.
  • Return on invested capital (adjusted) is defined by the Company as adjusted EBIT, tax effected using the adjusted tax rate, divided by the sum of the average of beginning and end of the year short- and long-term debt and Celanese Corporation stockholders' equity. We believe that return on invested capital (adjusted) provides useful information to management, investors, analysts and other parties in order to assess our income generation from the point of view of our stockholders and creditors who provide us with capital in the form of equity and debt and whether capital invested in the Company yields competitive returns. In addition, achievement of certain predetermined targets relating to return on invested capital (adjusted) is one of the factors we consider in determining the amount of performance-based compensation received by our management.

Supplemental Information

Supplemental Information we believe to be of interest to investors, analysts and other parties includes the following:

  • Net sales for Materials Solutions, the Acetyl Chain and each of our business segments and the percentage increase or decrease in net sales attributable to price, volume, currency and other factors for Materials Solutions, the Acetyl Chain and each of our business segments.
  • Cash dividends received from our equity and cost investments.
  • For those consolidated ventures in which the Company owns or is exposed to less than 100% of the economics, the outside stockholders' interests are shown as NCI. Beginning in 2014, this includes Fairway for which the Company's ownership percentage is 50%. Amounts referred to as "attributable to Celanese Corporation" are net of any applicable NCI.

Results Unaudited

The results in this document, together with the adjustments made to present the results on a comparable basis, have not been audited and are based on internal financial data furnished to management. Quarterly results should not be taken as an indication of the results of operations to be reported for any subsequent period or for the full fiscal year.

                         
Table 1
Adjusted EBIT and Operating EBITDA - Reconciliation of Non-GAAP Measures - Unaudited
 
Q1 '17 2016 Q4 '16 Q3 '16 Q2 '16 Q1 '16
(In $ millions)
Net earnings (loss) attributable to Celanese Corporation 183 900 160 262 221 257
(Earnings) loss from discontinued operations 2 3 (1 )
Interest income (2 ) (1 ) (1 )
Interest expense 29 120 29 28 30 33
Refinancing expense 6 4 2
Income tax provision (benefit) 56 122 (5 ) 15 52 60

Certain Items attributable to Celanese Corporation (Table 8)

65 130   106   7 9 8  
Adjusted EBIT 333 1,278 289 319 312 358
Depreciation and amortization expense(1) 71 288   71   71 73 73  
Operating EBITDA 404 1,566   360   390 385 431  
 
 
Q1 '17 2016 Q4 '16 Q3 '16 Q2 '16 Q1 '16
(In $ millions)
Advanced Engineered Materials
Consumer Specialties 1 1
Industrial Specialties
Acetyl Intermediates
Other Activities(2) 1   1    
Accelerated depreciation and amortization expense 2 1 1
Depreciation and amortization expense(1) 71 288   71   71 73 73  
Total depreciation and amortization expense 71 290   72   72 73 73  

______________________________

(1)

  Excludes accelerated depreciation and amortization expense as detailed in the table above, which amounts are included in Certain Items above.

(2)

Other Activities includes corporate Selling, general and administrative ("SG&A") expenses, the results of captive insurance companies and certain components of net periodic benefit cost (interest cost, expected return on plan assets and net actuarial gains and losses).
 
                         

Table 2 - Supplemental Segment Data and Reconciliation of Segment Adjusted EBIT and Operating EBITDA - Non-GAAP Measures - Unaudited

 
Q1 '17 2016 Q4 '16 Q3 '16 Q2 '16 Q1 '16
(In $ millions, except percentages)
Operating Profit (Loss) / Operating Margin                        
Materials Solutions 166 23.5 % 652 27.5 % 163 27.7 % 161 27.3 % 162 27.0 % 166 27.9 %
Acetyl Chain(1) 52 6.5 % 446 14.2 % 86 11.5 % 108 14.2 % 107 13.7 % 145 17.3 %
Other Activities(2) (26 ) (205 ) (132 ) (23 ) (26 ) (24 )
Total 192   13.1 % 893   16.6 % 117   8.9 % 246   18.6 % 243   18.0 % 287   20.4 %
Less: Net Earnings (Loss) Attributable to NCI(1) 1   6   1   1   2   2  
Operating Profit (Loss) Attributable to Celanese Corporation 191   13.0 % 887   16.5 % 116   8.8 % 245   18.5 % 241   17.8 % 285   20.3 %
Operating Profit (Loss) / Operating Margin Attributable to Celanese Corporation
Advanced Engineered Materials 98 20.1 % 350 24.2 % 87 23.9 % 93 25.5 % 82 22.5 % 88 25.1 %
Consumer Specialties 68   31.2 % 302   32.5 % 76   33.8 % 68   30.2 % 80   34.0 % 78   32.0 %
Total Materials Solutions 166   23.5 % 652   27.5 % 163   27.7 % 161   27.3 % 162   27.0 % 166   27.9 %
Industrial Specialties 25 10.2 % 105 10.7 % 20 9.1 % 25 10.2 % 29 11.1 % 31 12.3 %
Acetyl Intermediates(1) 26 4.2 % 334 13.7 % 65 10.9 % 82 13.9 % 75 12.7 % 112 16.9 %
Eliminations   1       1    
Total Acetyl Chain 51   6.4 % 440   14.0 % 85   11.3 % 107   14.0 % 105   13.5 % 143   17.0 %
Other Activities(2) (26 ) (205 ) (132 ) (23 ) (26 ) (24 )
Total 191   13.0 % 887   16.5 % 116   8.8 % 245   18.5 % 241   17.8 % 285   20.3 %
Equity Earnings, Cost-Dividend Income, Other Income (Expense) Attributable to Celanese Corporation
Advanced Engineered Materials 42 122 31 33 27 31
Consumer Specialties 30   110   27   27   28   28  
Total Materials Solutions 72   232   58   60   55   59  
Industrial Specialties
Acetyl Intermediates 1   7   2   1   2   2  
Total Acetyl Chain 1   7   2   1   2   2  
Other Activities(2) 4   22   7   6   5   4  
Total 77   261   67   67   62   65  
Certain Items Attributable to Celanese Corporation (Table 8)
Advanced Engineered Materials 3 7 3 1 2 1
Consumer Specialties 2   6   3   3      
Total Materials Solutions 5   13   6   4   2   1  
Industrial Specialties 1 (2 ) 1 2
Acetyl Intermediates 56   6   1   1   3   1  
Total Acetyl Chain 56   7   (1 ) 1   4   3  
Other Activities(2) 4   110   101   2   3   4  
Total 65   130   106   7   9   8  
Adjusted EBIT / Adjusted EBIT Margin
Advanced Engineered Materials 143 29.4 % 479 33.2 % 121 33.2 % 127 34.8 % 111 30.4 % 120 34.3 %
Consumer Specialties 100   45.9 % 418   45.0 % 106   47.1 % 98   43.6 % 108   46.0 % 106   43.4 %
Total Materials Solutions 243   34.5 % 897   37.8 % 227   38.5 % 225   38.1 % 219   36.5 % 226   38.0 %
Industrial Specialties 25 10.2 % 106 10.8 % 18 8.2 % 25 10.2 % 30 11.5 % 33 13.0 %
Acetyl Intermediates 83 13.4 % 347 14.2 % 68 11.4 % 84 14.3 % 80 13.5 % 115 17.3 %
Eliminations   1       1    
Total Acetyl Chain 108   13.6 % 454   14.5 % 86   11.5 % 109   14.3 % 111   14.2 % 148   17.6 %
Other Activities(2) (18 ) (73 ) (24 ) (15 ) (18 ) (16 )
Total 333   22.6 % 1,278   23.7 % 289   22.0 % 319   24.1 % 312   23.1 % 358   25.5 %

___________________________

(1)

  Net earnings (loss) attributable to NCI is included within the Acetyl Intermediates segment.

(2)

Other Activities includes corporate SG&A expenses, the results of captive insurance companies and certain components of net periodic benefit cost (interest cost, expected return on plan assets and net actuarial gains and losses).
 
                         

Table 2 - Supplemental Segment Data and Reconciliation of Segment Adjusted EBIT and Operating EBITDA - Non-GAAP Measures - Unaudited (cont.)

 
Q1 '17 2016 Q4 '16 Q3 '16 Q2 '16 Q1 '16
(In $ millions, except percentages)
Depreciation and Amortization Expense(1)                        
Advanced Engineered Materials 24 92 21 22 25 24
Consumer Specialties 11   44   11   11   11   11  
Total Materials Solutions 35   136   32   33   36   35  
Industrial Specialties 8 34 9 9 8 8
Acetyl Intermediates 26   107   26   27   27   27  
Total Acetyl Chain 34   141   35   36   35   35  
Other Activities(2) 2   11   4   2   2   3  
Total 71   288   71   71   73   73  
Operating EBITDA / Operating EBITDA Margin
Advanced Engineered Materials 167 34.3 % 571 39.5 % 142 39.0 % 149 40.8 % 136 37.3 % 144 41.1 %
Consumer Specialties 111   50.9 % 462   49.7 % 117   52.0 % 109   48.4 % 119   50.6 % 117   48.0 %
Total Materials Solutions 278   39.4 % 1,033   43.5 % 259   44.0 % 258   43.7 % 255   42.5 % 261   43.9 %
Industrial Specialties 33 13.5 % 140 14.3 % 27 12.3 % 34 13.9 % 38 14.5 % 41 16.2 %
Acetyl Intermediates 109 17.6 % 454 18.6 % 94 15.7 % 111 18.8 % 107 18.1 % 142 21.4 %
Eliminations   1       1   ...