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Albemarle Q1 profit soars 162% YOY on higher lithium segment income

Albemarle Corp. first-quarter net income surged 162% year over year to US$131.8 million, the company said May 9.

The company attributed the improvement mainly to growth in its lithium segment's earnings, and a loss on early extinguishment of debt of 34 cents per diluted share in the first quarter of 2017.

Albemarle also recorded a discrete tax benefit of US$2.8 million to adjust amounts previously recorded for a one-time transition tax and a discrete tax benefit of US$3.7 million for other adjustments.

Net sales rose 14% to US$821.6 million, driven by favorable impact of higher sales volumes primarily in its lithium segment and favorable price and currency exchange impacts across all three segments. Adjusted EBITDA, meanwhile, jumped 17.7% to US$248.7 million.

The company's lithium segment posted a 37.8% year-over-year increase in net sales to US$298.0 million, driven primarily by favorable pricing impacts, increased sales volumes and US$10.8 million of favorable currency exchange impacts.

Net sales for bromine grew 2.9% to US$225.6 million on the back of favorable pricing impacts and US$4.3 million of favorable currency exchange impacts, partially offset by lower sales volumes. Meanwhile, net sales for the catalysts segment rose 2.8% to US$260.7 million in the quarter.

Albemarle expects its net sales to range between US$3.2 billion and US$3.4 billion in 2018, up between 4% and 11% over the 2017 sales, while adjusted EBITDA is expected to reach between US$955 million and US$1.01 billion, an 8% to 14% increase on a yearly basis.

The company lifted its full-year EPS guidance to between US$5.10 and US$5.40, reflecting an 11% to 18% increase over the 2017 results.