Albemarle Corporation (ALB - Free Report) said that it has developed a novel technology that would allow it to increase annual lithium production in Chile on a sustainable basis to as much as 125,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent without requiring additional brine pumping at its facility in the Salar de Atacama.
The move is part of the company’s efforts to beef up efficiencies and sustainability of its Atacama operations. As a result, Albemarle has asked the Chilean Economic Development Agency, Corfo to increase its lithium production quota.
Albemarle noted that it intends to construct and start-up additional lithium carbonate capacity in Chile in the early 2020s once the present expansion projects are completed and operate at full capacity.
Projects currently underway are expected to raise the company’s total annual production capacity in Chile to more than 80,000 metric tons of lithium carbonate equivalent by 2020.
Albemarle has outperformed the industry it belongs to over a year, partly reflecting its forecast-topping earnings performance and its strategic growth initiatives. The company’s shares have rallied around 64% over this period, compared with roughly 27% gain recorded by the industry.
Albemarle is seeing significant momentum in its lithium business. Sales from its Lithium and Advanced Materials unit jumped 36% year over year to $317.9 million in the last reported quarter, supported by favorable pricing and higher sales volume. The company remains committed to strengthen its lithium business and is well placed to leverage strong expected growth in the battery-grade lithium market.
The acquisition of the lithium assets of Jiangxi Jiangli New Materials Science and Technology Co. Ltd. has allowed Albemarle to supply premium lithium salts to an expanded global customer base and accelerated the company’s ability to meet its goal of capturing 50% of the growth in the lithium industry.
Albemarle currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Other Stocks to Consider
Stocks in the basic materials space worth considering include Kraton Corporation (KRA - Free Report) , Kronos Worldwide, Inc. (KRO - Free Report) and Orion Engineered Carbons, S.A. (OEC - Free Report) , all sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Kraton has expected earnings growth of 7.2% for the current year.
Kronos has expected long-term earnings growth of 5%.
Orion Engineered Carbons has expected earnings growth of 19% for the current year.
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