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Koppers (KOP) Misses on Q3 Earnings & Sales, Cuts FY18 View

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Koppers Holdings Inc. (KOP - Free Report) logged a profit of $7.6 million or 35 cents per share for third-quarter 2018, down roughly 62% from $19.8 million or 91 cents a year ago.

Barring one-time items, earnings were 73 cents per share for the quarter, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.12.

Koppers, a global provider of wood treatment chemicals, treated wood products and carbon compounds, recorded revenues of $442.7 million for the quarter, up around 15% year over year. Sales, however, fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $502.6 million.

Koppers Holdings Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


Koppers Holdings Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Koppers Holdings Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Koppers Holdings Inc. Quote

Segment Highlights

Revenues from the Railroad and Utility Products and Services (RUPS) segment surged around 40% year over year to $185 million. The growth was driven by acquisitions and higher volumes in the commercial crosstie market that more than offset lower Class I treating volumes.

The Performance Chemicals (PC) unit recorded sales of $108.2 million in the quarter, down around 1% year over year. The decline reflects the continued trend of customers delaying or reducing wood-treating activities due to volatility in lumber prices.    

Revenues from the Carbon Materials and Chemicals (CMC) division rose around 4% to $149.5 million, driven by higher sales prices for carbon pitch in North America, Europe and Australia that more than offset reduced volumes of soft pitch in China and phthalic anhydride in North America.


Koppers ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $62.5 million, up around 25% year over year. Long-term debt was $1,029.8 million, up around 50% year over year.

Capital expenditures for the first nine months of 2018 were $81.4 million, up roughly 67% from $48.6 million for the same period a year ago.


Koppers now sees sales for 2018 to be around $1.7 billion, down from its prior view of $1.8 billion. The company also expects adjusted EBITDA to be around $220 million (compared with $240 million expected earlier) for 2018. Koppers also cut its adjusted earnings guidance for 2018 to the range of $3.30 to $3.40 per share from $4.05 and $4.25 per share expected earlier. The company lowered its expectations for 2018 due to the idling of a major customer's facility in China during the third quarter and potentially for the fourth quarter.

Moreover, Koppers now expects capital expenditures to be in the band of $85 million to $90 million for the full year.

The company also expects to deliver its fifth straight year of adjusted EBITDA growth in 2019.  

Price Performance

Koppers has underperformed the industry it belongs to over a year. The company’s shares have lost around 58% over this period compared with the industry’s decline of 15%.


Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Koppers currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

A few better-ranked stocks worth considering in the basic materials space include Methanex Corporation (MEOH - Free Report) , CF Industries Holdings, Inc. (CF - Free Report) and KMG Chemicals, Inc. .

Methanex has expected long-term earnings growth rate of 15% and sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Its shares have gained 26% in the past year. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

CF Industries has expected long-term earnings growth rate of 6% and carries a Zacks Rank #1. Its shares have rallied 40% in a year.

KMG Chemicals has expected long-term earnings growth rate of 28.5% and carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Its shares have shot up 40% in the past year.

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