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Huntsman posts 4Q loss, shares drop

THE WOODLANDS, Texas (AP) -- Shares of Huntsman slid Tuesday after the chemical maker posted a fourth-quarter loss, hurt by restructuring costs and a loss on paying down debt.

For the three months ended Dec. 31, Huntsman Corp. lost $40 million, or 17 cents per share. That compares with a profit of $105 million, or 44 cents per share, in the same period in 2011.

Excluding $40 million in restructuring costs, a $78 million loss from redeeming debt early and other one-time items, earnings were 24 cents per share, matching expectations of analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue dropped less than 1 percent, to $2.62 billion from $2.63 billion, as sales volumes fell for its performance products and pigments divisions. Wall Street predicted a bigger drop, to $2.51 billion.

For all of 2012, net income rose 47 percent to $363 million, or $1.51 per share, from $247 million, or $1.02 per share, in 2011. Revenue fell less than 1 percent, at $11.19 billion from $11.22 billion.

Looking forward, the company's pension expense will increase by about $25 million in 2013, said Chief Financial Officer J. Kimo Esplin said during a conference call. Its tax rate is also expected to rise to about 35 percent from 30 percent.

Huntsman Corp.'s stock fell $1.03, or 5.4 percent, to $18.04 Tuesday afternoon. They're still up 35 percent over the past 12 months, and on Monday had hit $19.11, their highest point since August 2011.