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Solutia: first-quarter report

6 May 1999: US-based speciality chemical company Solutia Inc. said its first quarter operating profits fell, but stock buybacks helped boost earnings per share 6%, in line with analysts“ expectations…

6 May 1999: US-based speciality chemical company Solutia Inc. said its first quarter operating profits fell, but stock buybacks helped boost earnings per share 6%, in line with analysts“ expectations. The chemical company, which was spun off by Monsanto Co. in 1997, said it earned US$ 63 million, or US$ 0.54 a share, excluding US$ 40 million in special charges. Last year, Solutia earned US$ 64 million, or US$ 0.51 a share. With the one-time charges, first quarter profits were US$ 23 million, or US$ 0.20 a share. Sales fell to US$ 652 million from US$ 720 million a year ago. The operating earnings per share matched Wall Street expectations, according to First Call, which tracks such data. Solutia said it repurchased 1.2 million shares in the first quarter, bringing total repurchases since 1997 to 8.1 million. “We are pleased that earnings per share, excluding special charges, exceeded the first quarter of last year,” John Hunter III, chief executive officer, said in a statement. “We expect that a combination of key growth platforms materializing, plus increasing volumes and some increasing selling prices, will return Solutia to positive revenue growth within the next several quarters.” The special charges relate to Solutia exiting its commodity chemical ammonia business, the expected settlement of pending property claims litigation, and the write-down of certain impaired assets. Recently, Solutia and rival chemical company FMC Corp. said they entered into a joint venture to form a phosphorus chemicals firm large enough to compete in the consolidating industry. Solutia had said in September it would pursue the sale of its phosphorus derivatives business, which has annual sales of about US$ 370 million.

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