7. Albemarle ( ALB), a specialty chemicals developer operates in three segments: Polymer Solutions, Catalysts and Fine Chemicals.

Of the 12 analysts covering the stock, 67% recommend a buy and the rest suggest a hold. There are no sell ratings on the stock. On average, analysts polled by Bloomberg estimate 29.9% upside to $62.44 in value from current levels.

For the third quarter of 2011, the company reported net sales of $723 million, compared to $585 million in the year-ago quarter. Net income for the quarter increased to $116.1 million, or $1.28 per diluted share, from $93.7 million, or $1.02 per diluted share, in the third quarter prior year. By segment, catalysts generated 39%, while fine chemicals recorded 30%.

Early November, the company received the Biodiesel Corporation of the Year award from the World Refining Association for successfully developing and commercializing highly engineered basic trans-esterification catalysts for the production of fatty acid methyl-ester biodiesel. The company also has partnered with Southern Microbiological Services to open an R&D microbiology lab in Baton Rouge.

Albemarle, in collaboration with Louisiana State University and the Center for Advanced Microstructures and Devices, has developed a method to increase the 3-D visualization of flame retardant and synergist components using element specific X-ray tomography.

Looking ahead, the company expects business to be fundamentally strong and sees the second half of 2011 tracking the first half of 2011. It expects to end 2011 on a positive note, well positioned for 2012.

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