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Eastman Chemical Co. to beat Wall Street expectations

Sharon Caskey Hayes • Apr 7, 2008 at 12:00 AM

KINGSPORT — Eastman Chemical Co. will beat Wall Street expectations for the first quarter this year.

The Kingsport-based company announced Monday it expects to exceed the high end of analyst estimates of $1.30 per share, excluding gains and costs related to strategic decisions and actions.

Eastman credited continued strong sales volume and higher selling prices that offset higher raw material and energy costs in the first quarter.

Last year, the company posted earnings per share of 91 cents in the first quarter, a 27 percent decline from the same period in 2006. A loss of $23 million in the company’s continuing PET business fueled the decline in earnings during last year’s first quarter.

This year, Eastman’s new PET plant in Columbia, S.C., is expected to help boost first quarter earnings. The new IntegRex plant, which came online last year, is designed to produce more than twice as much PET as the older, larger plants in a much smaller facility, which will use less energy.

Eastman will announce its first quarter results after the market closes on April 24.

The company will host a conference call with industry analysts at 8 a.m. April 25. To listen to the live webcast of the conference call, go to www.investors.eastman.com and click on “Presentations.”

Eastman manufactures and markets chemicals, fibers and plastics worldwide and employs about 10,500 people, including 7,000 in Kingsport. The company posted sales of $6.8 billion in 2007.

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