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FMC: higher soda ash and peroxygens sales

FMC Corporation reported net income of USD 94.0 million, or USD 1.30 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2011, compared to net income of USD 77.4 million, or USD 1.06 per diluted share, in the …

FMC Corporation reported net income of USD 94.0 million, or USD 1.30 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2011, compared to net income of USD 77.4 million, or USD 1.06 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2010. Net income in the current quarter included charges of USD 13.6 million after tax, or USD 0.19 per diluted share, compared to charges of USD 22.7 million after tax, or USD 0.30 per diluted share, in the same quarter of last year. Excluding these items in both periods, adjusted earnings totalled USD 1.49 per diluted share in the current quarter, an increase of 10% versus USD 1.36 per diluted share in the prior-year quarter. First quarter revenue of USD 795.0 million increased 5% on the figure of USD 756.5 million of last year“s quarter. Excluding the prior-year impact of exited businesses, first quarter revenue increased 10% versus the year-ago quarter. FMC president, chief executive officer and chairman, Pierre Brondeau, said, “The year is off to a good start as each of our business segments delivered strong profit gains. Agricultural Products“ earnings were driven by broad-based sales growth in North America, Latin America and Asia. Specialty Chemicals“ performance was led by robust earnings gains in lithium. Industrial Chemicals“ earnings increased significantly as a result of higher selling prices across the segment. Our first quarter performance once again reflected the benefits we derive from serving diverse end markets with low correlation to economic cycles; our global presence that is biased toward rapidly-developing economies; our diversified raw material structure and sourcing; and our minimal dependence on petrochemical feedstocks.” Revenue in Specialty Chemicals was USD 210.1 million, an increase of 4% compared to the year-ago quarter, due to higher volumes and selling prices for lithium specialties and food ingredients, particularly in dairy and beverage markets in Asia, partially offset by lower lithium primaries volumes. Segment earnings increased 10% at USD 44.9 million, pushed by the sales gain and operating cost reductions in lithium, partially offset by higher spending on focused growth initiatives in food ingredients and higher speciality wood pulp costs in BioPolymer. Revenue in Industrial Chemicals of USD 242.5 million was down 3% from the year-ago quarter, due to higher selling prices across the segment, particularly in soda ash, and volume growth in peroxygens were more than offset by the absence of sales from phosphates and sulphur derivatives businesses that were exited in the prior year. Segment sales, excluding the prior-year impact of these exited businesses, increased 11%. Segment earnings of USD 40.3 million were up 17% as a result of higher soda ash and peroxygens sales, boosted by a favourable mix shift in peroxygens toward specialties markets. With regards to the outlook for 2011, Brondeau said, “We are very confident that we will deliver another record year for the company. For the full-year 2011, we have raised our outlook for adjusted earnings to USD 5.50 to USD 5.80 per diluted share, a 14% increase above our 2010 adjusted earnings of USD 4.95 per diluted share at the midpoint of the range.

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