Kronos Worldwide, Inc. KRO logged a profit of $9.4 million or 8 cents per share in fourth-quarter 2019, down from $24 million or 21 cents in the year-ago quarter. Earnings missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 10 cents.
Results in the reported quarter were impacted by lower average selling prices and increased raw materials as well as other production costs, which were partly offset by higher sales volumes.
Net sales rose 6.7% year over year to $372.7 million on the back of higher sales volumes and reduced average titanium dioxide (TiO2) selling prices. However, the figure trailed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $378 million.
In 2019, the company reported profit of $87.1 million or 75 cents per share, down from $205 million or $1.77 per share recorded in 2018.
Net sales in the year rose 4.2% year over year to $1,731.1 million.
Volumes and Pricing
Average TiO2 selling prices fell 3% year over year in the reported quarter.
The company’s TiO2 sales volume increased 14% year over year owing to increased sales in the European and export markets, which were partly offset by lower sales in the Latin American and North American markets. TiO2 production volumes rose 4% year over year in the fourth quarter.
Profit in the TiO2 segment plunged 56.3% year over year to $21.1 million in the fourth quarter.
Kronos Worldwide ended 2019 with cash and cash equivalents of $390.8 million, up 4.7% year over year. Long-term debt was $444 million, down 2.4% year over year.
Cash flows from operating activities were $160.3 million for 2019, down 15% year over year.
For 2020, Kronos Worldwide expects production volumes to be modestly higher on a year-over-year basis. However, the company anticipates slightly lower sales volumes compared with 2019 based on expected production levels and assuming global economic conditions to remain stable (including the limited impact of coronavirus). The company stated that it will continue to examine current and expected customer demand levels in the near term as well as align its inventories and production accordingly.
Overall, the company expects sales to be slightly lower year over year in 2020, mainly resulting from lower expected sales volumes. Additionally, the company expects lower income from operations this year due to higher raw material costs (mainly feedstock) and lower expected sales volumes.
Shares of Kronos Worldwide have lost 44.8% in the past year compared with 45.8% decline of the industry.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Kronos Worldwide currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Few better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are Daqo New Energy Corp DQ, Newmont Corporation NEM and Impala Platinum Holdings Limited IMPUY, each currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Daqo New Energy has an expected earnings growth rate of 353.7% for fiscal 2020. The company’s shares have surged 68.4% in the past year.
Newmont has an expected earnings growth rate of 69.7% for 2020. Its shares have returned 33.3% in the past year.
Impala Platinum has an expected earnings growth rate of 424.1% for fiscal 2020. The company’s shares have surged 82.8% in the past year.
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