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Albemarle to Hike n-Propyl bromide Prices

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Albemarle Corporation (ALB - Free Report) said that it will raise prices of its n-Propyl bromide based products by up to 20% globally. The price hike is effective immediately or as per the contracts.

Albemarle’s price hike for n-Propyl bromide products includes n-Propyl bromide Technical product, sold into intermediate and synthesis applications, and also the ABZOL brand formulated products sold for precision cleaning applications.

Albemarle’s n-Propyl bromide products fall under the Performance Chemicals division in the Fine Chemistry business segment.

Albemarle is a leading maker of specialty chemicals for consumer electronics, petroleum refining, utilities, packaging, construction, automotive/transportation, pharmaceuticals, crop protection, food-safety and custom chemistry services.

Albemarle came out with its second-quarter 2013 results on Jul 17. The company reported adjusted earnings (excluding non-operating items) of 97 cents a share in the quarter compared with $1.28 a share earned in the year-ago quarter. The results were below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 99 cents.  

Profit, as reported, was $82.7 million or 98 cents per share. This represents a 65% increase from $50.1 million or 56 cents per share posted in the prior-year quarter.

Revenues decreased 7.4% to $634.2 million in the quarter from $684.9 million in the year-ago quarter, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $660 million. The results were impacted by its exit from the phosphorus flame retardants business, lower metals surcharges, unfavorable pricing in bromine portfolio and lower Fine Chemistry Services volumes, partly offset by favorable volumes in Refinery Catalysts and Brominated Flame Retardant businesses.

Net sales in the Fine Chemistry segment slipped 16% to $176.1 million in the second quarter from $208.1 million in the previous-year quarter primarily due to unfavorable sales volumes and pricing.

Sluggish economic environment across Europe, weak electronics and construction markets, and lower metals surcharges at the beginning of 2013 impacted Albemarle’s performance. However, Albemarle successfully met several key milestones with the bromine and organometallics expansions, which are expected to be beneficial to the company on a long-term basis.

Albemarle retains a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Other companies in the chemical industry worth considering are Northern Technologies International Corp. , Cytec Industries Inc. and Eastman Chemical Co. (EMN - Free Report) . All of them hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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