Albemarle 3Q net falls, warns of tougher 4Q

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Specialty chemical maker Albemarle Corp. said on Wednesday that its third-quarter net income fell 14.5 percent and warned that the fourth quarter will be even more difficult.

The company said it earned $99.3 million, or $1.10 per share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30. That was down from $116.1 million, or $1.28, during the same period last year.

Revenue fell 8.5 percent to $661.2 million, from $723 million a year ago.

The results from this year's third quarter included special charges and a special benefit of 5 cents per share each, so they were a wash. The charge was for a settlement related to a special executive retirement plan.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a profit of $1.09 per share on revenue of $676.7 million.

Two-thirds of the revenue decline was because of lower metals surcharges in its catalysts business. And its polymer solutions business faced "severe deterioration" in sales for electronics and construction in Europe.

"While I expect fourth quarter to be even more difficult than was the third, I remain confident in our ability to grow our business in 2013," CEO Luke Kissam said. The company said it expects market and economic conditions "to remain unstable for the foreseeable future."

Albemarle said it expects higher profits in all three of its segments in 2013, but "if economic uncertainty continues, we are prepared to take appropriate steps to ensure the company's financial strength and future growth."

Shares had risen 48 cents to close at $54.28 before the results were released. They fell $2.27, or 4.2 percent, to $52.01 in aftermarket trading.