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Rockwood Hikes Dividend

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Specialty chemicals company Rockwood Holdings, Inc. has announced a roughly 15% hike in its quarterly dividend to 40 cents per share from the prior payout of 35 cents. The increased dividend will be paid on Mar 22, 2013, to stockholders of record as of Mar 7, 2013.

Princeton, NJ-based Rockwood is a premier specialty chemical and advanced materials company. The company reported net sales of nearly $3.5 billion in 2012 and employs roughly 10,200 people worldwide.

A few days ago, the company released its fourth-quarter 2012 results. Profit from continuing operations, as reported, fell to $21.2 million or 26 cents per share in the quarter from $63 million or 79 cents per share a year ago. Adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 45 cents per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 48 cents.

Revenues came in at $829 million in the quarter, up 1.8% from $814 million recorded in the year-ago quarter, beating Zacks Consensus Estimate of $795 million.

Recently, Rockwood entered into an agreement to acquire Kemira Oyj’s 39% stake in their titanium dioxide (TiO2) joint venture “Sachtleben.” With this buyout, Rockwood will get 100% ownership of the joint venture.

Rockwood expects its Lithium, Surface Treatment and Advanced Ceramics businesses to perform well in the near future. Its Performance Additives segment is expected to gain from any material recovery in the U.S. housing market. However, weak performance is expected in the TiO2 business in the first half of 2013 with improved results expected in the second half anticipating stabilization in pricing and raw material costs.  

Rockwood currently maintains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Other companies in the specialty chemicals space with favorable Zacks Rank are Novozymes A/S (NVZMY - Free Report) , Penford Corporation and Chemtura Corporation . While both Novozymes and Penford retain a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Chemtura holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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