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Specialty chemicals company Albemarle Corporation (ALB - Snapshot Report) declared that its joint venture, Jordan Bromine Company (JBC), has successfully commissioned the first phase of its earlier-announced expansion project. The phase doubles the bromine production capacity of the site. The investment reinforces JBC’s position as the world's low-cost bromine producer.

The successful startup is attributed to the skill of JBC’s teams and implementation of technology that boosts bromine capacity. The investment enables JBC to provide quality products to its customers globally.

This project is a testimony of JBC’s commitment to safe and sustainable operations and will also help in new job creation. The significant capital expansion explains Jordan's powerful economic potential and prosperity of the region.

JBC, situated on the Dead Sea in Safi, Jordan, is a joint venture between Arab Potash Company and Albemarle Holding Company, Limited, a fully-owned subsidiary of Albemarle. The commissioning of the second phase of expansion project has been scheduled in May 2013. The second phase of the expansion is set to double the current capacity of bromine derivatives, hydrobromic acid, calcium bromide and sodium bromide.

Albemarle, a global leader in the development, manufacture and marketing of bromine, bromine derivatives and other specialty chemicals, reported fourth-quarter 2012 adjusted earnings of $1.17 a share compared with $1.13 per share earned in the year-ago quarter.

Revenues were $687.6 million in the quarter, down 4% from $707.4 million in the year-ago quarter. Sales were impacted by lower metal surcharges in the Catalysts segment, more than offsetting volume growth.

Albemarle’s exit from the phosphorus business, absence of pension obligations, its strong balance sheet and investments for future growth are expected to benefit the company, going forward.

Albemarle currently retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Air Products & Chemicals Inc. (APD - Analyst Report), Axiall Corporation (AXLL - Snapshot Report) and LyondellBasell Industries (LYB - Analyst Report) also belong to the diversified chemical industry. Each of them holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
 

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