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Albemarle Hikes Quarterly Dividend, Boosts Shareholder Value

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 Albemarle Corporation ’s (ALB - Free Report) board has announced a 10% hike in its quarterly dividend to 36.75 cents per share. The dividend, representing a rate of $1.47 on annualized basis, is payable on April 1, 2019, to shareholders of record at the close of business as of March 15.

Notably, the move marks the 25th straight year that the company has hiked quarterly dividend. The company stated that it is committed to generate shareholder return through dividend and business growth.

Albemarle’s adjusted earnings for the fourth quarter were $1.53 per share, up 14.2% year over year. The figure also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.46.
 
Albemarle provided an upbeat outlook for 2019 during fourth-quarter 2018 earnings call. The company stated that its performance in 2018 and execution of lithium growth projects have positioned it for another year of growth in 2019. It expects adjusted earnings for 2019 in the range of $6.10-$6.50 per share, up 11-19% on a year-over-year basis.

Also, it projects net sales for 2019 between $3.65 billion and $3.85 billion, representing a roughly 8-14% year-over-year growth.  Adjusted EBITDA for the year is projected in the range of $1,070-$1,140 million, up roughly 6-13% year over year.

Moreover, the company expects growth in 2019 to be driven by higher volumes in the Lithium unit. The Bromine Specialties and Catalysts units are expected to remain stable.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

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

A few better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space include Kirkland Lake Gold Ltd. (KL - Free Report) , Ingevity Corporation (NGVT - Free Report) and The Mosaic Company (MOS - Free Report) . While Kirkland and Ingevity currently sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Mosaic carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Kirkland has an expected earnings growth rate of 20.9% for 2019. The company’s shares have surged 127.3% in the past year.

Ingevity has an expected earnings growth rate of 17.9% for 2019. The company’s shares have surged 40.4% in a year’s time.

Mosaic has an expected earnings growth rate of 23.5% for 2019. Its shares have gained 11.5% in a year’s time.

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