WR Grace 3Q profit drops, results top expectations

COLUMBIA, Md. -- W.R. Grace & Co.'s third quarter earnings fell 7 percent, as foreign exchange rates and weaker demand in developed economies hurt the chemical maker's revenue.

The Columbia, Md., company said Wednesday it earned $75.5 million, or 99 cents per share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30. That compares to earnings of $81.3 million, or $1.07 per share, in last year's quarter. Adjusted earnings totaled $1.04 per share in this year's quarter, excluding restructuring expenses and charges related to its Chapter 11 bankruptcy, among other items.

Revenue fell 10 percent to $776.6 million.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected, on average, earnings of $1.02 per share on $785.8 million in revenue.

Sales in Grace's catalysts technologies segment fell 19 percent to $298.9 million, as unfavorable foreign exchange rates and lower rare earth surcharges countered improved pricing and higher sales volumes. That segment includes specialty catalysts and additives for refinery, plastics and other chemical process applications.

Chairman and CEO Fred Festa said strong growth in emerging markets offset weaker demand in advanced economies during the quarter.

Grace filed to reorganize under Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2001. A bankruptcy court reaffirmed its reorganization plan in June, but several parties filed to appeal the decision. The company said the timing of its emergence from Chapter 11 depends on satisfying or waiving remaining conditions set forth in the plan.

Company shares climbed 22 cents to $59.90 in Wednesday afternoon trading.