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Westlake Chemical Declares Pricing of Senior Notes Due 2030

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Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK - Free Report) recently announced the pricing of underwritten public offering of $300 million total principal amount of senior unsecured notes due 2030. The notes will carry an interest rate of 3.375% per year and will mature on Jun 15, 2030. The sale of the notes is slated to close on Jun 12, 2020, which is subject to customary closing conditions.

The company plans to employ a portion of the net proceeds to fund the purchase of three series of tax-exempt revenue bonds. The revenue bonds are issued by the Louisiana Local Government Environmental Facilities and Community Development Authority on behalf of Westlake Chemical with a total principal amount of $254 million. The company plans to use the remaining net proceeds for general corporate purposes.

The notes offering will be sold only pursuant to an effective shelf registration statement, which was earlier filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

At the end of the first quarter, Westlake Chemical’s long-term debt rose 66% year over year to $4,432 million. Cash flow from operations was $61 million in the quarter, down 58.5% year over year.

Shares of Westlake Chemical have lost 11.1% in the past year compared with the industry’s 17.8% decline.

In May, Westlake Chemical stated that it is focused on lowering its cost position and generating economic value over the business cycle. The company believes that its competitive position along with a strong balance sheet has positioned it to weather the current environment.

The company faces headwinds from lower pricing for a number of its products. Slower global economic growth and the impact of coronavirus affected prices in the first quarter. Pricing pressure is expected to persist in the second quarter. 

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Westlake Chemical currently carries a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).

Some better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are Barrick Gold Corporation (GOLD - Free Report) , Royal Gold, Inc. (RGLD - Free Report) and Franco-Nevada Corporation (FNV - Free Report) , all carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 (Strong Buy) Rank stocks here.

Barrick has an expected earnings growth rate of 64.7% for 2020. The company’s shares have surged 82.2% in the past year.

Royal Gold has an expected earnings growth rate of 66.2% for fiscal 2020. Its shares have returned 37% in the past year.

Franco-Nevada has an expected earnings growth rate of 19.2% for 2020. The company’s shares have surged 75.3% in the past year.

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