Create a free account to continue

Eastman Chemical Posts 4Q Profit

Chemical and plastics maker said it posted a fourth-quarter profit, reversing a year-ago loss, as worldwide demand for packaging materials and chemicals increased.

KINGSPORT, Tenn. (AP) -- Chemical and plastics maker Eastman Chemical Co. said Monday it posted a fourth-quarter profit, reversing a year-ago loss, as worldwide demand for its packaging materials and chemicals such as plasticizers increased.

The fourth-quarter net income, however, came in shy of Wall Street's expectations. But Eastman forecast first-quarter earnings above analysts' views.

Eastman earned $19 million, or 25 cents per share, in the latest quarter. In 2009's fourth quarter, it posted a loss of $32 million, or 44 cents per share.

Excluding asset-impairment and debt-extinguishment costs, as well as restructuring charges, Eastman said it would have earned $1.41 a share in the latest quarter. Analysts were expecting $1.49 a share, according to FactSet.

Eastman said its fourth-quarter revenues rose 23 percent to $1.46 billion, partly because of price increases to compensate for higher raw material and energy costs. It said demand for specialty chemicals rose in North America and Asia. Analysts had expected $1.43 billion.

For the full year, Kingsport-based Eastman said its earnings more than tripled to $438 million, or $5.92 per share, compared to $136 million, or $1.85 per share, in 2009. Revenues rose 33 percent to $5.8 billion.

The company said it expects first-quarter earnings between $1.75 and $1.85 per share. Analysts had been forecasting $1.67 a share.

A strengthening global economy, expansion in Korea and lower interest expenses after debt restructuring in 2010 will boost results, Eastman said. The company, however, faces volatility in raw material and energy costs, higher pension expenses and other growth-related costs.

Eastman shares rose 1 percent, or $1.01, to close at $92.86. They added 9 cents to $92.95 in extended trading following the release of the earnings report.
More in Supply Chain