Celanese posts 16% sales growth for Q3 2008; trims down annual earnings outlook

Celanese Corporation, a leading global chemical company, reported net sales of US$1,823 mln, a 16% increase from the prior year's results, primarily driven by higher pricing, increased volumes in Acetyl Intermediates, and positive currency impacts. The company's net earnings increased to US$158 mln from US$128 mln in prior year and operating profit rose to US$151 mln from US$147 mln in the prior year period. Higher raw material and energy costs offset the positive impact of increased sales. Adjusted earnings per share for the third quarter were $0.78 compared with $0.73 in the prior year and excluded a net of US$20 mln of other charges and adjustments primarily associated with the insurance recovery, the planned Pampa plant shutdown and costs related to the company's revitalization of its Industrial Specialties businesses. For the remainder of 2008, the company expects the economic slowdown in North America and Europe to continue and also sees recent signs of slowing growth in Asia linked to the global credit crisis. Due to these factors, and their impact on overall volumes, the company updated its full year 2008 outlook for adjusted earnings per share to between $3.40 and $3.55 from its previous guidance range of between $3.60 and $3.85. The company also adjusted its full year 2008 operating EBITDA guidance range to between US$1,320 mln and US$1,355 mln from its previous guidance range of between US$1,355 mln and US$1,415 mln.
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