Albemarle Corporation ALB is benefiting from higher lithium prices and volumes, capacity expansion and cost-saving actions.
The North Carolina-based company is gaining from higher volumes in its lithium business on a recovery in global economic activities. Higher customer demand, new capacity and plant productivity improvements are supporting volumes. The La Negra III/IV expansion in Chile is also contributing to higher volumes.
Strong lithium prices are also supporting ALB’s performance. Tight supply conditions and growing demand for electric vehicles are driving lithium prices. The company’s bromine business is also gaining from strong demand and favorable pricing led by tight market conditions. Albemarle is seeing strong demand for flame retardants.
The company is also strategically executing its projects aimed at boosting its global lithium conversion capacity. It remains focused on investing in high-return projects to drive productivity. The company is well placed to gain from long-term growth in the battery-grade lithium market.
Albemarle's Kemerton I lithium hydroxide conversion plant in Western Australia achieved first product in July 2022. The Kemerton II plant has also achieved mechanical completion. The company is also expanding lithium carbonate production at its Silver Peak site. The acquisition of the Qinzhou plant in China will also boost the growth of conversion capacity and drive lithium volumes.
The company is also benefiting from cost-saving and productivity initiatives. Its cost actions are expected to support its margins in 2022.
However, the company’s Catalysts unit faces headwinds from higher costs. The segment is witnessing continued challenges from increased input costs as well as higher natural gas costs in Europe due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Albemarle expects adjusted EBITDA for this segment for 2022 to be down 45-65% year over year factoring in the cost headwind.
The Bromine Specialties unit is also exposed to higher raw material and freight costs. The segment also faces headwinds from demand weakness in consumer and industrial electronics and building & construction markets.
Albemarle Corporation Price and Consensus
Albemarle Corporation price-consensus-chart | Albemarle Corporation Quote
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
Albemarle currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Better-ranked stocks worth considering in the basic materials space include Sociedad Quimica y Minera de Chile S.A. SQM, Olympic Steel, Inc. ZEUS and Commercial Metals Company CMC.
Sociedad has a projected earnings growth rate of 538.1% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for SQM’s current-year earnings has been revised 1.2% upward in the past 60 days.
Sociedad has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 27.2%. SQM has rallied roughly 51% in a year. The company currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Commercial Metals currently carries a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for CMC's current-year earnings has been revised 4.1% upward in the past 60 days.
Commercial Metals’ earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the last four quarters. It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 19.7%, on average. CMC has gained around 42% in a year.
Olympic Steel currently carries a Zacks Rank #1. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ZEUS's current-year earnings has been revised 1.8% upward in the past 60 days.
Olympic Steel’s earnings beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the last four quarters. It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 25.4%, on average. ZEUS has rallied around 63% in a year.
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