Albemarle clocks decline in Q4 net income; Polymer Additives sales down 36% YOY

Albemarle Corporation posted Q4 - 2008 net income of $13.1 million (14 cents per share), compared to net income of $58.6 million (60 cents per share), for the same quarter of 2007. The quarter results include a $38.5 million pre-tax charge related to the disposition of the Port de Bouc, France facility, a $22.5 million pre-tax charge for restructuring costs, principally due to a reduction in force at various Company locations and a $32.4 million one time gain from the settlement of the 2000-2004 tax audits with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. For 2008, net income stood at $194.2 million ($2.10 per share), down from $229.7 million ($2.36 per share) for 2007. Net sales in the Q4 - 2008 totaled $517.7 million compared to net sales of $599.2 million in same period a year ago. The global economic crisis is having the most impact on our Polymer Additives business, with a sharp decline in fourth quarter sales and operating profit in this segment. These declines were partially offset by higher sales and profits in our Fine Chemicals business. For full year, net sales for 2008 were $2.47 billion compared to $2.34 billion for 2007, an increase of 6% and a new annual record for the Company. Polymer Additives segment recorded net sales for Q4 - 2008 of $148.7 million, a 36% decrease versus the fourth quarter of 2007 and a net income of $5.2 million compared to the Q4 - 2007 of $30.3 million. The company's Catalysts segment posted net sales for the Q4 - 2008 of $207.7 million, a decrease of 11% versus the Q4 - 2007 due primarily to lower volumes in hydroprocessing catalysts (HPC) and unfavorable currency exchange rates partially offset by improved pricing. The decrease is due primarily to reduced volumes and higher raw material costs. On the flipside, Fine Chemicals segment delivered net sales for Q4 - 2008 of $161.3 million, a 23% increase versus the Q4 - 2007 due primarily to increased volume and pricing from fine chemistry services and improved pricing from bromine portfolio.
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