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Chemical and advanced materials maker Celanese Corporation (CE - Analyst Report) has announced an increase in the prices of GUR and GHR ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) grades sold in Europe by 20 cents per kilogram. This hike will be effective from Sep 15, 2014, or as contracts permit.

GUR UHMW-PE is a linear polyethylene offering excellent abrasion resistance and impact resistance. It is non-sticky and has self-lubricating properties. It also has mechanical characteristics, even in cryogenic conditions. It is used for orthopedic implants, filtration, batteries/lithium, fibers, additives and membranes.

Celanese posted better-than-expected second-quarter 2014 results on Jul 17. The company saw its profit jump in the quarter on higher margins across its Advanced Engineered Materials, Industrial Specialties and Acetyl Intermediates segments.

Profit from continuing operations (as reported) soared 94% year over year to $258 million or $1.66 per share in the quarter from $133 million or 83 cents per share posted in the prior-year quarter.
 
Adjusted earnings (excluding one-time items) of $1.47 per share jumped 31% from $1.12 per share reported in the year-ago quarter. It also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.23.

Based on its strong first-half performance, Celanese now expects adjusted earnings growth of 15% to 17% for 2014, versus 12% to 14% expected earlier. It said that it will focus more on company-specific initiatives for 2015 (including innovation and productivity programs), which will help it offset expected headwinds associated with the expiry of a methanol contract in mid-2015.

Celanese currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Better-ranked companies in the chemical space include Marrone Bio Innovations, Inc. (MBII - Snapshot Report), Ashland Inc. (ASH - Snapshot Report) and Cytec Industries Inc. (CYT - Snapshot Report). While Marrone Bio Innovations sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Ashland and Cytec Industries hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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