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Element Solutions (ESI) Up 27% YTD: What's Driving the Stock?

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Element Solutions Inc.'s (ESI - Free Report) shares have jumped 27.1% year to date, broadly outperforming the industry’s rise of 3.9%. The company has also topped the S&P 500’s 20.8% growth over the same period.

Zacks Investment Research
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Let’s discuss the factors behind this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock’s price rally.

What’s Favoring the Stock?

Strong results in the second quarter and bullish prospects have contributed to the company’s share price increase. Its adjusted earnings of 35 cents per share in the quarter beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 34 cents. It generated net sales of $586.6 million, up around 52% year over year.

The company announced an increase in EBITDA guidance for 2021, raising it to the band of $505-$520 million from $500-$510 million expected earlier. It expects adjusted EPS of at least $1.35 for the year.

For the third quarter, the company sees adjusted EBITDA in the range of $125-$130 million. A continued increase in logistics costs is expected to persist in the third quarter. However, its pricing actions in the wake of raw material inflation are projected to support margins.

Element Solutions stands to benefit from strategic acquisitions, cost management measures, and strong demand in its end markets. It is seeing continued strength in its high-end electronics business.

The company is poised to grow from its inorganic moves. The recently completed buyout of Coventya is expected to generate synergies of at least $15 million, which is likely to be achieved within two years, and annual sales to the tune of roughly $190 million for fiscal 2021.  The acquisition of H.K. Wentworth is expected to strengthen its electronics portfolio. The Kester acquisition has added capabilities and scale to its existing electronics assembly materials business. Moreover, the DMP buyout has expanded Element Solutions’ investment in technology to offer innovative solutions. The cash proceeds from the divestment of its Agricultural Solution Unit enable the company to invest in strategic markets and pursue mergers and acquisitions.

Various reorganization and cost management measures by Element have also contributed to cost savings and profits. Continued cost discipline and other actions are expected to support margins and act as tailwinds for 2021.

The company believes in strategic usage of cash and remains committed to boosting shareholders' returns. It generated $72 million of free cash flow in the second quarter of 2021. It expects to generate free cash flow of roughly $285 million for full-year 2021. The company continues to look for opportunities to deploy excess capital.
Earnings estimates for Element have been modestly going up over the past three months. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings has increased 1.5%. The consensus mark for 2022 earnings has also increased 2.7% over the same time frame. The favorable estimate revisions instill investors’ confidence in the stock.

Stocks to Consider

Better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space include AdvanSix Inc. (ASIX - Free Report) and Hawkins, Inc. (HWKN - Free Report) , each flaunting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and Atotech Limited (ATC - Free Report) , carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

AdvanSix has a projected earnings growth rate of 160.4% for the current year. The company’s shares have appreciated 186% in a year.

Hawkins has a projected earnings growth rate of 24.9% for the current year. The company’s shares have risen 48.4% in a year.

Atotech has a projected earnings growth rate of roughly 122% for the current year. The company’s shares have rallied 24.5% in a year.

In-Depth Zacks Research for the Tickers Above

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Element Solutions Inc. (ESI) - Free Report >>

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Hawkins, Inc. (HWKN) - Free Report >>

Atotech Limited (ATC) - Free Report >>