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FMC sees higher soda ash & peroxygens sales
May '11
FMC Corporation reported net income of $94.0 million, or $1.30 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2011, versus net income of $77.4 million, or $1.06 per diluted share, in the first quarter of 2010. Net income in the current quarter included charges of $13.6 million after tax, or $0.19 per diluted share, versus charges of $22.7 million after tax, or $0.30 per diluted share, in the prior year quarter.

Excluding these items in both periods, adjusted earnings were $1.49 per diluted share in the current quarter, an increase of 10 percent versus $1.36 per diluted share in the prior-year quarter. First quarter revenue of $795.0 million was 5 percent higher than $756.5 million in the prior year. Excluding the prior-year impact of exited businesses, first quarter revenue increased 10 percent versus the year-ago quarter.

Pierre Brondeau, FMC president, chief executive officer and chairman, said, "The year is off to a good start as each of our business segments delivered strong profit gains. Agricultural Products' earnings were driven by broad-based sales growth in North America, Latin America and Asia. Specialty Chemicals' performance was led by robust earnings gains in lithium. Industrial Chemicals' earnings increased significantly as a result of higher selling prices across the segment. Our first quarter performance once again reflected the benefits we derive from serving diverse end markets with low correlation to economic cycles; our global presence that is biased toward rapidly-developing economies; our diversified raw material structure and sourcing; and our minimal dependence on petrochemical feedstocks."

Revenue in Specialty Chemicals was $210.1 million, up 4 percent versus the year-ago quarter as a result of higher volumes and selling prices for lithium specialties and food ingredients, particularly in dairy and beverage markets in Asia, partially offset by lower lithium primaries volumes. Segment earnings of $44.9 million increased 10 percent driven by the sales gain and operating cost reductions in lithium, partially offset by higher spending on focused growth initiatives in food ingredients and higher specialty wood pulp costs in BioPolymer.

Revenue in Industrial Chemicals of $242.5 million declined 3 percent from the year-ago quarter, as higher selling prices across the segment, particularly in soda ash, and volume growth in peroxygens were more than offset by the absence of sales from phosphates and sulfur derivatives businesses that were exited in the prior year. Excluding the prior-year impact of these exited businesses, segment sales increased 11 percent. Segment earnings of $40.3 million increased 17 percent as a result of higher soda ash and peroxygens sales, augmented by a favorable mix shift in peroxygens toward specialties markets.

Regarding our outlook for 2011, Brondeau said, "We are very confident that we will deliver another record year for the company. For the full-year 2011, we have raised our outlook for adjusted earnings to $5.50 to $5.80 per diluted share, a 14 percent increase above our 2010 adjusted earnings of $4.95 per diluted share at the midpoint of the range.

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