, a specialty chemicals and materials company, said it swung to a profit in the fourth quarter ended Sept. 30, helped by improved gross margins.
The company earned $27 million, or 39 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with a loss of $59 million, or $1.02 a share, a year ago. The company earned $29 million, or 43 cents a share from its continuing operations in the most recent quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 34 cents a share.
Third-quarter revenue rose 18.8% from a year ago to $663 million against analysts' expectation of $635 million.
"While we continue to remain concerned about the volatility of energy prices because of the impact that they inevitably have on our business, we are confident that we have positioned the company well to withstand these types of disruptions on a long-term basis," the company said.
The company also said that it expects its cost reduction actions taken during the fourth quarter of 2006 to yield savings of about $20 million annually. Those efforts include a formal staffing-reduction initiative, savings from open positions that will not be refilled, and savings achieved through other cost-elimination activities, the company added.
Gross profit for the quarter rose 66.2% from a year ago to $113 million and gross margin increased 500 basis points to 17%.
Revenue from carbon black business rose 30.6% to $508 million and revenue from metal oxides business increased 23.2% to $69 million. However, revenue from supermetals business fell 26.7% to $66 million.
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