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Chemical and advanced materials maker Celanese Corporation (CE - Analyst Report) said that it will raise the prices of vinyl acetate-based emulsions across Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The prices of PVAc homopolymer, vinyl acetate ethylene (VAE) and vinyl copolymer emulsions will rise by up to €25 per metric ton (MT) effective Feb 1, 2014, or as per contracts.
 
The price hike will affect all applications including, but not restricted to, adhesives, paints and coatings, building and construction, nonwovens, glass fiber, carpet, paper and textiles. Customers have been advised to contact the company’s sales representative for additional details.
 
Earlier this month, Celanese said that it will raise prices for vinyl acetate-based emulsions in the Americas and Asia. Moreover, the company announced price increase of all high vinyl acetate grades of Ateva ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA).
 
Celanese expects earnings growth on the back of company-specific initiatives, to be consistent with its long-term growth plan. These initiatives, including innovation of new products and enhancement of efficiencies through productivity, are expected to drive earnings in 2014.
 
Celanese is focusing on trimming costs and running its plants more efficiently to counter weak demand. Moreover, it is aggressively expanding capacity in the emerging Asian markets. The company’s strong presence in these markets should enable it to deliver incremental earnings this year and next.
 
However, Celanese is witnessing weak demand and pricing in its core acetyl business. Moreover, it is exposed to volatility in raw material costs and has a highly leveraged balance sheet.
 
Celanese currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Strong Sell).
 
Other companies in the chemical industry worth considering include L'Air Liquide SA (AIQUY), Johnson Matthey plc (JMPLY) and LyondellBasell Industries NV (LYB - Analyst Report). While both L'Air Liquide and Johnson Matthey carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), LyondellBasell holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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