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KINGSPORT — Eastman Chemical Company's earnings for the first quarter of 2014 were a hair lower compared to last year, while sales revenue equaled last year's first quarter result, the company announced Thursday.
This was the company's first quarter under the leadership of Chief Executive Officer Mark Costa.
Eastman announced earnings of $1.61 per diluted share for this year's first quarter versus $1.62 per diluted share for last year's first quarter. Reported earnings were $1.52 per diluted share for first quarter 2014 versus $1.57 per diluted share for first quarter 2013.
Sales revenue was $2.3 billion for both periods.
"We reported solid results in the first quarter despite a global economy that continues to be lackluster," Costa said in a prepared release. "We remain focused on growth through Eastman-specific actions, including serving growing markets with capacity additions, improving our mix with premium products, and disciplined capital allocation. As a result, Eastman is well positioned for a fifth consecutive year of strong earnings growth."
Eastman said it used $30 million in cash from operating activities during this year's first quarter primarily due to a seasonal increase in working capital. Share repurchases totaled $260 million during the quarter.
In Eastman's operating segments, sales revenue increased slightly in additives and functional products and was unchanged in adhesives and plasticizers, and advanced materials. Revenue in fibers increased due to higher selling prices and declined in specialty fluids and intermediates, the company reported.
On the outlook for the rest of 2014, Costa said, "Our solid first-quarter earnings are a good start to the year. Looking forward, we expect sales revenue growth in the remaining three quarters and for full-year sales revenue to be consistent with global GDP growth. We also expect that benefits from Eastman-specific actions and from balanced deployment of our strong cash flow will accelerate earnings growth for the remainder of the year. Given the strength of our differentiated portfolio of businesses, we continue to expect 2014 earnings per share to be between $6.70 and $7.00."
Non-core and non-recurring items are excluded from the earnings per share projection.
Eastman's stock closed at $87.31 per share, down about 1.4 percent on Thursday.
Eastman, based in Kingsport, serves customers in approximately 100 countries and had 2013 revenues of approximately $9.4 billion. The company employs approximately 14,000 people around the world.
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