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Chemical Finance Digest, Mar. 19-23
3:26 PM MDT | March 26, 2012 | By VINCENT VALK
Topping the headlines last week, share buybacks and dividends are increasing as chemical companies continue to run up large cash balances. Over 60% of cash flow from operations was returned to chemical company shareholders in 2011, according to a new report.
In M&A news, Agrium is planning to buy Viterra’s agricultural retail business in Canada and Australia for about $1.16 billion. The deal is pending the closure of Glencore’s acquisition of Viterra, a grain handler. Reuters says that the deal makes Agriuma ‘a quiet winner’ in the $6 billion-plus Glencore-Viterra deal, and Moody’s has confirmed Agrium’s ‘Baa2’ credit rating in light of the announcement.
Omnova’s earnings for the fiscal first-quarter soared, to $12.7 million, or 28 cts/share, on improved pricing and a favorable product mix.
In debt news, Momentive Performance Materials has entered into a $175 million senior secured first lien term loan maturing in 2015. S&P has rated the term loan ‘B,’ higher than Momentive’s ‘B-‘ corporate credit rating. Seperately, NewMarket has requested that S&P withdraw the company’s credit ratings. NewMarket had been rated ‘BB+’ by S&P.
The week ahead will the latest revision of U.S. fourth-quarter GDP figures. Consensus is for 3% growth, unchanged from prior estimates.