IHS Chemical Week


Specialties Snapshot, Oct. 28-Nov. 3

6:15 PM MDT | November 3, 2011 | By REBECCA COONS

Specialty chemicals headlines were largely small acquisitions and a flurry of earnings announcements, so today's rumor that DuPont might sell its automotive coatings business--which Bloomberg speculates could be worth as much as $4 billion--quickly rose to the top of Specialties' Snapshot. DuPont declined to comment, so right now interested parties are in wait and see mode.

Meanwhile, specialty chemical makers continued to post gains for the third quarter of 2011 as higher prices
Sales and earnings in millions of dollars.
offset raw material inflation and demand remained steady. Executives diverged, however, on the near-term outlook for growth.

Nalco Holdings reported third-quarter net income of $78.7 million, up 30% from the year-ago quarter. Sales increased 15%, to $1.25 billion on strong volume and price gains in all segments. Earnings of 55 cts/share beat analysts’ estimates of 46 cts/share as reported by Thomson Reuters (New York).“We delivered the price gains and margin improvement we committed to and we will continue to focus our commercial efforts toward even more growth," says chairman and CEO Erik Fyrwald. Nalco raised its full-year forecast, citing strong sales growth and improving margins as price increases continue to take effect.

Chemtura reported net income from continuing operations of $9 million, flat with year-ago results. Sales of $773 million were up 9% from the year-ago quarter. Results matched preliminary earnings announced on October 18. On a managed basis, operating profit was $46 million, up 21% from the year-ago quarter as higher prices and favorable currency impacts more than offset higher raw material and manufacturing costs. Chemtura’s fourth-quarter sales outlook is mixed. Initial feedback suggests consumer product sales will be lower than last year, Rogerson says. Signals are also mixed for flame retardant sales, where TV enclosure and connector orders have improved, but printed wiring board applications continue to be slow, he says.

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