Eastman reports 27 percent increase in 1Q sales revenue

Hank Hayes • Apr 25, 2013 at 6:05 AM

KINGSPORT — Eastman Chemical Co. reported Thursday on first-quarter sales revenue of $2.3 billion, a 27 percent increase compared with 2012’s first quarter.

The sales figures included revenue from the acquired Solutia businesses, although Eastman said pro forma combined sales revenue declined one percent.

“Our portfolio of specialty businesses continued to deliver strong earnings in the first quarter despite uncertain global economic conditions,” Eastman Chairman and CEO Jim Rogers said in a prepared release. “For full year 2013, we remain on track to achieve a fourth consecutive year of double-digit earnings growth while also generating strong cash flow.”

Eastman’s operating earnings during the quarter were $393 million compared with $264 million in 2012’s first quarter.

Excluding Solutia acquisition-related costs and charges in both periods, operating earnings were $403 million in this year’s first quarter compared to $273 million in last year’s first quarter.

Eastman said pro forma combined operating earnings increased primarily due to lower raw material and energy costs partially offset by lower selling prices.

The company announced earnings, excluding Solutia acquisition-related costs and charges in both periods, of $1.62 per diluted share for first quarter 2013 versus $1.22 per diluted share for first quarter 2012.

Eastman reported generating $5 million in cash from operating activities during this year’s first quarter. Working capital increased by $235 million primarily due to increased receivables resulting from higher sales revenue.

The company said it contributed $11 million to U.S. defined benefit pension plans during the quarter, and expects to contribute approximately $120 million this year. The fourth-quarter 2012 dividend of $45 million ($.30 per share) was paid in December 2012 rather than January 2013. Share repurchases totaled $32 million during this year’s first quarter.

Regarding the outlook for 2013, Rogers noted: “We expect our leadership positions in key end-markets, the diversity of the end-markets we serve, and our broad geographic footprint to continue to position us well for strong earnings growth. However, global economic uncertainty continues with particular weakness in Europe, and raw material and energy costs remain volatile. Taking all of these factors into consideration, we continue to expect 2013 earnings per share to be between $6.30 and $6.40.”

Solutia integration costs, any asset impairments and restructuring charges, and mark-to-market pension and OPEB gains or losses are excluded from the earnings per share projection, the Eastman release pointed out.

Eastman’s stock closed Thursday up one percent over Wednesday at $72.65 per share.

Eastman, a global specialty chemical company, serves customers in approximately 100 countries and had 2012 pro forma combined revenues, giving effect to the Solutia acquisition, of approximately $9 billion.

The Kingsport-based company employs approximately 13,500 people around the world.

For more, go to www.eastman.com.

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