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OM Group

(OMG)

nearly doubled its third-quarter earnings estimate, citing the sharp rise in nickel prices.

The Cleveland-based chemicals company said it now expects diluted earnings per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30 to be in the range of $2.85 to $2.95, up significantly from its previously projected earnings of $1.45 to $1.65 per diluted share.

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Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for $1.71.

In the third quarter of 2006, the price of nickel averaged $13.22 a pound. The company's previous earnings projection, issued on Aug. 4, was based on an average nickel price of $11.35 a pound.

"Our revised third-quarter expectations represent yet another example of the exposure to metal prices in our current business model," said CEO Joe Scaminace. "We are as committed today as ever to transforming the company's business model. Our transformation strategy, in the broadest terms, focuses on growing the company's specialty materials presence while reducing our exposure to metal price volatility. We remain active on all fronts, regardless of which direction metal prices trend."