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Celanese's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

We plan to use this process going forward to provide more time to analyze the results before we take your questions. If you have suggestions to further improve the process, please let me know.

Before I get to results, I expect many of you have questions about our contractual relationship with Southern Chemical Corporation for the procurement of methanol in the U.S. Unfortunately, since we are in active litigation with Southern, and our contract contains confidentiality provisions, we will not be able to answer any questions related to this contract or the litigation today.

Now for the results, we reported the second highest adjusted earnings per share in our history at $1.47, amid a challenging economic environment in Europe, slower growth in Asia and a headwind from currency translation, it was in the high single digit range. Our ability to deliver these results demonstrates the strength of our technology and our portfolio as well as the hard work for the team around the globe. Most noteworthy each business generated strong sequential earnings growth pushing operating EBITDA to the $404 million range or 24% of sales. In fact Industrial Specialties set a quarterly earnings record of $47 million and on a year-over-year basis our three specialty businesses increased operating EBITDA by approximately 12%.

Acetyl Intermediates earnings declined in the second quarter primarily due to a difficult year-over-year comparison. It was driven by temporarily elevated industrial utilizations in the prior year. Within this quarter AI experienced trough-like levels of operating EBITDA due to weak economic conditions in Europe and slow growth in Asia impacting demand and pricing. At quarter’s end, we believe industry utilization rates were in the mid 70% range with Asian utilization rates closer to 50%. Yet even in this environment the company generated $1.04 per share of adjusted earnings excluding the dividend from the Acetate ventures.

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