Albemarle Corporation ( ALB)

Q3 2011 Earnings Conference Call

October 25, 2011 11:00 AM ET


Luke Kissam – President

John Steitz – COO

Scott Tozier – CFO

Lorin Crenshaw – Director, IR and Communications


Alex [ph] – Bank of America

P J Juvekar – Citi

David Begleiter – Deutsche Bank

Steve Schwartz – First Analysis

Jeff Zakauskas – JPMorgan

Robert Koort – Goldman Sachs

Laurence Alexander – Jefferies & Co.

Mike Sison – Keybanc Capital Markets

Edward Yang – Oppenheimer & Co.



Good day ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the third quarter 2011 Albemarle Corporation earnings conference call. My name is Feb [ph] and I’ll be your operator for today. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question and answer session. If at any time you require operator assistance, please press star followed by zero and we will be happy to assist you.

As a reminder this conference is being recorded for replay purposes. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today, Mr. Lorin Crenshaw, Director of Investor Relations and Communications. Please proceed.

Lorin Crenshaw

Thanks Feb [ph], and welcome everyone to Albemarle’s Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. Our earnings are released after the close yesterday, and you’ll find our press release earnings presentation and non-GAPP reconciliations posted on our website under the investor section as

Joining me on the call today, are Luke Kissan, President and Chief Executive Officer, John Steitz, Chief Operating Officer, and Scott Tozier, Chief Financial Officer. As a reminder, some of the matters discussed during the call may include forward looking statements as defined in the private securities litigations reformat of 1995.

Please not the cautionary language about our forward-looking statements contained in our press release. That same language applies to this call. Also, to the extent that we discuss any non-GAPP financial measures, you’ll find reconciliations in our press release we just posted on our website at

With that, I’ll turn the call over to Luke.

Luke Kissam

Thanks, Lorin, good morning everyone and thank you for joining us today as we report record earnings for the third consecutive quarter. I’ll begin today’s call by sharing some highlights from the quarter, John will then talk about specific drivers of our results, and Scott will cover the quarter’s financial highlights.

As always, at the end of our prepared remarks, we will open it up for your questions. Out third quarter financial performance was a success by any standard. We achieved record earnings for the third straight quarter, and recorded the second highest revenue level in company history.

Excellent pricing traction across each business and strong catalyst and fine chemistry volumes throughout net sales of $723 million up 24% year-over-year. These factors combined with effective raw material utilizations, favoral mix, and great execution drove segment income of 186 million up 30% year-over-year and operating margins of 26% of 118 basis points year over year.

Earning that appeared were an all time record of $116 million or $1.28 per share, up 25% year-over-year. Great results, ahead of our vision 2015 strategy to double the size of our business. In Catalysts, strong volumes, higher pricing, favorable currency, and effective recovery of raw material inflation drove record net sales of $300 million, up 39% year-over-year.

These factors combined with favorable mix and a solid performance from our JVs resulted in record segment income of $102 million, up 48% year-over-year. And segment margins of 34%, up 190 basis points year-over-year.

In Fine Chemistry, raw base pricing initiatives and volume gains drove Fine Chemistry net sales of $180 million, up 30% year-over-year. Segment income was $30 million, up 82% year-over-year. And segment margins were 16.7%, up 480 basis points year-over-year.

This business continues to demonstrate impressive operating leverage as pricing, volume, and manufacturing efficiencies continue to more than offset higher cost.

Polymer Solutions reported net sales of $244 million, up 5% year-over-year and segment income of $55 million down 7% year-over-year.

We indicated during the second quarter earnings call that we saw early signs of weaker demand within selected end markets in Polymers. How much of that would be stocking and how much of that was truly reduced demand remains to be seen.

In spite of this Polymer’s delivered the second best third quarter in its history and reported segment income over eight times higher than that of the fourth quarter 2008, the first down quarter in the last economic slow down.

While Catalysts results were truly outstanding this quarter, our year-to-date performance has been balanced and broad based. The year-to-date segment income of both Fine Chemistry and Polymer Solutions already sees their entire 2010 segment income levels.

The growth opportunities before us have never been more compelling. And I am pleased with the way our management team is balancing today’s execution with tomorrow’s adjacency opportunities.

The fundamental trends driving demand combined with our focus on cost, innovative customer solutions, cash generation, and operational excellence position us well to deliver on our short and long-term objectives.

Polymer Solutions has been a source of questions among investors in recent months. I would like to share with you why we are confident that this business will continue to perform much better in the current or future downturn than it did in the 2008-2009 slow down.

First, we’ve lowered our overall cost structure via our Plan C implementation and has been diligent in keeping cost from creeping back in. Secondly, we’re constantly upgrading our portfolio.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on

If you liked this article you might like

Big-Cap Lithium Stocks Are Hot, But My Top Pick Is Micro-Cap Applied Minerals

Big-Cap Lithium Stocks Are Hot, But My Top Pick Is Micro-Cap Applied Minerals

Square, Manitowoc, FMC Corp: 'Mad Money' Lightning Round

Square, Manitowoc, FMC Corp: 'Mad Money' Lightning Round

Nobody Likes Tariffs: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Thursday 3/1/18)

Nobody Likes Tariffs: Cramer's 'Mad Money' Recap (Thursday 3/1/18)

Albemarle is Even Weaker Than Quant Downgrade Implies

Albemarle is Even Weaker Than Quant Downgrade Implies

7 Investment Themes You Can't Afford to Miss for 2018

7 Investment Themes You Can't Afford to Miss for 2018