Cobalt refiner OM Group ( OMG) said its second-quarter earnings will be lower than expected and below analysts' consensus estimates, due in part to soft nickel production. The company now expects to earn 12 cents to 16 cents a share in the quarter. Analysts, however, expect 18 cents a share. The company earned 89 cents a share in the previous-year quarter. "While the cobalt and precious metals business remain strong, we are contending with the weak dollar and lower-than-expected nickel production volumes due to its maintenance shutdown," said Tom Miklich, the company's chief financial officer. Separately, Belgium-based zinc maker Umicore said on Tuesday that it will buy OM Group's precious metals business for $752.2 million. OM Group's net proceeds will be $700 million, which the company will use to reduce debt. Shares of OM Group were recently up 8% to $16.12 on the New York Stock Exchange.