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Celanese (CE) to Increase Prices of Acetyl Intermediates

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Celanese Corporation (CE - Free Report) will raise the list and off-list selling prices of the acetyl intermediates product — vinyl acetate monomer. The price hike will be effective immediately or as contracts permit. 
The company will raise the price of vinyl acetate monomer by ¥200/MT in China and $50/MT in Asia outside China, respectively. 
The company is taking appropriate pricing actions amid a volatile raw material pricing environment. Celanese’s strategic measures including operational cost savings through productivity actions and pricing initiatives are likely to provide an impetus to its earnings in 2018.
In the last six months, shares of the company have gained 9.4%, modestly outperforming the industry’s 9.2% growth.
Celanese kept its earnings streak alive with a beat in fourth-quarter 2017. The company logged adjusted earnings per share of $1.98 in the quarter, up 30.3% from $1.52 a year ago. The figure surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.86.
In the fourth quarter, revenues of $1,593 million were up roughly 21.5% year over year. The top line outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,530 million.
Celanese recently raised its earnings guidance for 2018, citing a stronger start to the year across its Acetyl Chain and Advanced Engineered Materials businesses. The company now envisions its adjusted earnings per share to grow in the 12-16% range year over year in 2018, up from its earlier view of 10-14% growth.
Celanese is witnessing better-than-expected performance in each of its businesses. The company noted that its Acetyl Chain unit continues to build momentum globally while improved pricing and strong demand trends in its Advanced Engineered Materials business are contributing to its earnings strength. Celanese plans to provide more details during its first-quarter 2018 earnings call.
Celanese Corporation Price and Consensus
Celanese currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Some better-ranked stocks in the chemical space are LyondellBasell Industries N.V. (LYB - Free Report) , Arkema S.A. and Methanex Corporation (MEOH - Free Report) .
LyondellBasell has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 9% and sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). The company’s shares have moved up 24.5% in a year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Arkema has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 8% and flaunts a Zacks Rank #1. The company’s shares have moved up 41.6% in a year.
Methanex has an expected long-term earnings growth rate of 15% and carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Its shares have gained 20.5% over a year. 
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