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Chemical company FMC Corporation’s fourth-quarter 2012 adjusted earnings (excluding one-time charges) were 81 cents per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate and above the year-ago earnings of 79 cents.

Profit, as reported, shot up 31% year over year to $102.2 million (or 74 cents a share) on the heels of a strong performance of the company’s core Agricultural Products segment.

For full-year 2012, adjusted earnings came in at $3.48 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by penny while surpassing the year-ago earnings of $2.99. Reported profit jumped 14% year over year to $416.2 million or $3.00 per share.

Revenues climbed 10% year over year to $1 billion in the reported quarter on strength in the agricultural products business. It beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $993 million.

For the full year, revenues climbed 11% year over year to $3.7 billion, meeting the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Revenues from the Agricultural Products division surged 20% year over year to $492.4 million in the reported quarter on the back of continued momentum in Latin America. Segment profit soared 51% year over year, boosted by higher volumes in Latin America, acquisition of fungicides in Asia and demand in North America.  

Specialty Chemicals segment’s sales rose 6% to $236.2 million in the quarter on higher selling prices and volume across the board. Profit, however, dipped 5% due to higher costs in the Lithium business.

Revenues from the Industrial Chemicals unit fell 2% to $272.2 million. Profit fell 10% year over year to $38 million as a decline in export pricing in soda ash more than offset higher domestic soda ash pricing and higher volumes.

The company exited 2012 with cash and cash equivalents of $77.1 million, down 51% year over year. Long-term debt increased roughly 15% year over year to $915 million.

For full-year 2013, FMC Corp. expects adjusted earnings to be in the range of $3.81 to $4.01 per share. For the first quarter, the company forecast adjusted earnings in the band of $1.02 to $1.12 per share. The current corresponding Zacks Consensus Estimates for the first quarter and 2013 are $1.08 and $3.98, respectively.

FMC Corp. is a leading diversified chemical company that serves agricultural, industrial, environmental and consumer markets across the globe. It is a leading maker of Lithium-based materials for primary and rechargeable batteries used in laptops, cellular phones and electric cars.

FMC Corp. currently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Other companies in the chemical industry worth considering are Arkema S.A. , BASF SE and Air Products . While Arkema retains a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), both BASF and Air Products hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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