Albemarle Corporation (ALB - Free Report) has started earthworks at the Kemerton Strategic Industrial Area in Western Australia. The move is aimed at constructing the company's lithium hydroxide (LiOH) conversion site. The company expects commissioning of the site to begin in stages during 2021.
Notably, the company recently obtained the essential environmental approval from the Australian state and federal government for the Kemerton facility. The plant is projected to comprise an initial capacity of 60,000 metric tons of LiOH. Also, it will have the ability to boost capacity to 100,000 metric tons over time.
According to the company, site earthworks at Kemerton is on track and highlights commitment to develop LiOH operations in Western Australia along with the overall strategy to raise shareholders’ value and address customers' demands.
Shares of Albemarle have lost 19.1% in the past six months compared with the industry’s 18% decline.
In November 2018, Albemarle backed guidance for 2018. It continues to expect adjusted earnings in the range of $5.30-$5.50 per share, marking year-over-year increase of 15-20%.
Moreover, the company also envisions net sales for 2018 between $3.3 billion and $3.5 billion. Adjusted EBITDA for the year is projected in the range of $990-$1,020 million.
Albemarle is focused on strengthening lithium business and is undertaking initiatives to grow key businesses. In December 2018, Albemarle inked an Asset Sale and Share Subscription Agreement with Mineral Resources Limited to acquire 50% interest in Mineral Resources' Wodgina hard rock lithium project in Australia through a fully-owned subsidiary. Albemarle will form a joint venture with Mineral Resources to own and operate the project as well as produce spodumene concentrate and battery grade lithium hydroxide.
Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider
Albemarle currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
A few better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are Verso Corporation (VRS - Free Report) , sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy); along with Ingevity Corporation (NGVT - Free Report) and Cameco Corporation (CCJ - Free Report) , both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Verso has an expected earnings growth rate of 63.5% for 2019. The company’s shares have rallied 35.7% in the past year.
Ingevity has an expected earnings growth rate of 21.5% for 2019. The company’s shares have gained 15.4% in the past year.
Cameco has an expected earnings growth rate of 20% for 2019. Its shares have moved up 16.4% in a year’s time.
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