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Shares of Eastman Chemical Company EMN have rallied 22.6% in the last six months. The company also significantly outperformed its industry’s gain of roughly 1.1% over the same time frame.
Eastman Chemical has a market cap of roughly $15.4 billion and average volume of shares traded in the last three months is around 1,294.9K. The company has expected long-term earnings per share growth of 8.9%.
Let’s take a look into the factors that are driving this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.
A better-than-expected fourth-quarter 2017 earnings performance and an upbeat 2018 outlook have contributed to the rally in Eastman Chemical’s shares. The company should gain from cost-cutting and productivity initiatives, synergies of strategic acquisitions as well as efforts to reduce debt.
The company’s profits increased in the fourth quarter of 2017, aided by strong growth of high-margin products in its specialty businesses. The company recorded profit of $581 million or $4.01 per share, a five-fold rise from the year-ago quarter’s figure of $116 million or 79 cents. Adjusted earnings of $1.62 per share trounced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.06.
In 2018, Eastman Chemical expects to drive growth in 2018 on the back of growth investments, innovation and high margin products. It also sees modestly lower tax rate to support earnings growth. Eastman Chemical projects adjusted earnings per share growth in 2018 to be 8-12% year over year.
The company is focused on cost-cutting and productivity actions, which is helping it to offset raw material cost inflation and other cost headwinds. The company expects to deliver $100 million of cost savings in 2018 under its cost-reduction program. Its cost-reduction actions are expected to contribute to its earnings per share in 2018.
Eastman Chemical should also gain from its strategic acquisitions, especially Taminco Corporation. The buyout has strengthened the company’s foothold in attractive niche end-markets including food, feed and agriculture where it has a strong presence. The acquisition has also provided attractive cost and revenue synergy opportunities.
Further, the company is committed to reduce debt and boost shareholder returns leveraging strong free cash flows. In 2017, it repaid $350 million of debt. Moreover, it hiked quarterly dividend for the eighth consecutive year, returning more than $646 million to shareholders during 2017 leveraging healthy free cash flows. Eastman Chemical expects to deliver strong earnings growth and generate solid free cash flow of more than $1.1 billion in 2018.
Eastman Chemical Company Price and Consensus
Eastman Chemical Company Price and Consensus | Eastman Chemical Company Quote
Other Stocks to Consider
Other top-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are LyondellBasell Industries N.V. LYB, CF Industries Holdings, Inc. CF and Daqo New Energy Corp. DQ, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
LyondellBasell has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 9%. Its shares have moved up 13.5% over the last six months.
CF Industries has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 7.6%. Its shares have gained 4.8% over the last six months.
Daqo New Energy has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 7%. Its shares have rallied 82.9% over the past six months.
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