Chemical Finance Digest, Sept. 12-16
3:44 PM MDT | September 19, 2011 | By VINCENT VALK
Topping the headlines last week, Deutsche Bank cut fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 earnings estimates for 20 chemical companies by an average of 7% and 6%, respectively. The bank cited slowing economic growth resulting in weak end market demand in many sectors as the reason for the cuts.
On the company level, Solutia cut its full-year 2011 earnings guidance by 8% due to a "slower than expected demand profile." More optimistically, Chemtura year-on-year improvement for this quarter, though the company is unable to provide clear guidance for the fourth-quarter.
In M&A news, DSM sold its personalized nutrition business, a wellness services provider, to Viocare, a U.S.-based health and nutrition firm. Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though DSM will remain a minority shareholder in Viocare through its venture arm. Separately, Berkshire Hathaway's acquisition of Lubrizol closed on Friday.
In debt news, Georgia Gulf is planning to redeem $41.9 million in bonds at a rate of $105.38 per $100 of face value. Meanwhile, Moody's says it expects to downgrade Ecolab two notches, to 'Baa1' when the Nalco acquisition closes. The company has agreed to two separate credit facilities worth a total of $3.5 billion to help fund the deal. Moody's also upgraded Ferro one notch, to 'Ba3,' due to "improved cash flow generation and overall improvement of Ferro's liquidity profile."
In macroeconomic news, U.S. industrial production rose 0.2% in August after a robust 0.9% increase in July. "The last two months' gains are still not consistent will an imminent recession or gloom and doom, but closer to muddling through," says IHS Global Insight economist Michael Montgomery. Mid-September consumer sentiment also rose according to the Reuters/University of Michigan survey, by 2.1 points to 57.8. The number "indicates that consumer mood is leveling off," says IHS Global Insight economist Chris Christopher. "However, there is a clear indication that consumers have pulled back and do not feel very comfortable with the economic outlook."
The week ahead will see the U.S. housing starts report released on Tuesday. Consensus is for an annual rate of 592,000 units.