swung to a loss in the first quarter as higher costs and losses from discontinued operations offset a 16% rise in revenue.
The specialty chemicals and lubricants company posted a loss of $14.8 million, or 22 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with a profit of $48.5 million, or 71 cents a share, a year ago.
The results included a loss of $60.7 million, or 88 cents a share, related to the divestiture of the company's Telene resins business and to the planned sale of two other businesses. Excluding these items and a restructuring charge of 2 cents a share, Lubrizol's earnings from continuing operations were 68 cents a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 64 cents a share on this basis.
First-quarter revenue rose to $984.1 million from $848.8 million, fuelled by an 8% increase in shipment volumes and improvements in the combination of selling price and product mix. Analysts were expecting revenue of $1.02 billion.
"We continued to address rising raw material and energy costs successfully with necessary and timely pricing actions. During the quarter, we were able to stop the margin erosion we had experienced over the last two years, and we were beginning to regain some ground," said JamesHambrick, chairman, president and chief executive, in a statement. "Recent increases in our raw material costs affected this progress and the Lubricant Additives segment quickly announced a global price increase, effective May 15."
Lubrizol forecast 2006 earnings of $2.65 to $2.80 a share. Excluding about 10 cents in restructuring charges, the company expects to earn $2.75 to $2.90 a share. Analysts' mean estimate stands at $2.98 a share.
Lubrizol shares recently traded at $44.02, up 41 cents.
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