Chemical industry weekly news roundup, 2 August
12:20 PM MDT | August 2, 2013 | By LINDSAY FROST
This week in CW:
Several more companies reported earnings this week. In the US, Chemtura’s second-quarter net income from continuing declined 11% year-on-year (YOY), to $47 million, and the company reported a net loss due to the selling of its antioxidants business. Eastman Chemical reported second-quarter profits of $264 million, up 47.4% year-over-year (YOY) on higher volumes and last year's $4.8-billion Solutia acquisition. Huntsman’s second-quarter net income fell 62% year-on-year (YOY), to $47 million, or 19 cts/share, on revenues down 3%, to $2.83 billion. Adjusted earnings totaled 39 cts/share, matching analysts’ consensus estimate. In Europe, Bayer reported strong second quarter growth in its HealthCare and CropScience businesses but said that Bayer MaterialScience (BMS) faced difficult market conditions. Evonik Industries says its adjusted Ebitda in the second quarter plunged by 23%, to €489 million, compared with €632 million a year ago. Linde’s sales were up 10.5%, to €8.21 billion, versus €7.43 billion in first-half 2012.
Shares in potash producers sank globally after one of two cartels that control most of the world's potash exports collapsed this week. Uralkali (Berezniki, Russia), the world’s largest producer of potash, announced 30 July that it would pull out of Belarusian Potash Co. (BPC; Minsk), an export cartel jointly operated with another leading potash producer, Belaruskali (Soligorsk, Belarus).
Pershing Square Capital Management (New York), run by activist investor Bill Ackman, has acquired a 9.8% stake in Air Products, according to regulatory filings. The firm says in the filing that Air Products “is undervalued and is an attractive investment. Air Products last week adopted a stockholder rights plan, or poison pill, noting “unusual and substantial activity” in its shares.
Around the web:
A University of Colorado Boulder team has developed a radically new technique that uses the power of sunlight to efficiently split water into its components of hydrogen and oxygen, paving the way for the broad use of hydrogen as a clean, green fuel, according to phys.org.
The NY Times says the American economy managed to stay on track last quarter, defying fears of another spring swoon, but doubts remain as to whether it will finally gain the kind of sustained momentum that has proved so elusive since the recovery began four years ago. The Commerce Department reported that the economy, adjusted for inflation, expanded at a better-than-expected annual rate of 1.7 percent in the April-June quarter, even as inflation-adjusted growth in the first part of the year now appears slower than first thought.