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Albemarle Starts Catalyst Plant in South Korea

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Albemarle Corporation (ALB - Free Report) announced that its catalyst manufacturing plant at its facility in Yeosu, South Korea, has come online. The plant will produce commercial quantities of single site metallocene catalysts, which will include grades enhanced by Albemarle's proprietary ActivCat activation technology, along with catalyst components such as methylaluminoxane (MAO).

The plant in Yeosu is the latest investment that Albemarle has made to cater to the growing global demand for metallocene and single site finished catalysts. The state-of-the- art Yeosu facility will provide a fully integrated platform to produce lab, pilot and commercial quantities of metallocene catalysts to meet the increasing needs of polyolefin producers around the world, including those in the high-growth Asia-Pacific region. Albemarle now guarantees abundant supply of metallocene catalyst with its plants now located at both Yeosu and Baton Rouge.

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.

Albemarle retains a Zacks Rank #4 (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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