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Celanese (CE) Beats Earnings and Revenue Estimates in Q3

Celanese CorporationCE , a chemical and advanced materials producer, kept its earnings streak alive with a beat in third-quarter 2017.

The company logged adjusted earnings per share of $1.93 in the reported quarter, up 15.6% from $1.67 reported a year ago. The figure was slightly above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.92.

Celanese reported sales of $1,566 million for the quarter, up roughly 18.4% year over year. Sales also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,511 million. The company benefited from commercial execution in the Acetyl Chain unit and productivity gains in the quarter.

Celanese Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Celanese Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Celanese Corporation Quote

Segment Review

Material Solutions : Within this segment, the Advanced Engineered Materials unit delivered operating profit of $97 million and record adjusted EBIT of $147 million.

In the third quarter, 585 projects were commercialized. Tow volume and pricing declined in the reported quarter mainly due to lower industry capacity utilization rates and outpaced productivity gains in the quarter. The Consumer Specialties unit's performance suffered a decline on a year-over-year basis.

Acetyl Chain : The unit witnessed growth in profitability despite operational and supply chain disruptions in the Gulf Coast caused by Hurricane Harvey. The success of commercial actions mainly in Asia as well as continued strength in global acetyls lead to higher pricing as compared to the year-ago quarter. Operating profit was $148 million, up 17.1% year over year.

Financials

Cash and cash equivalents were $461 million as of Sep 30, 2017, down 27.7% year over year. Long-term debt was up 2.2% to $2,954 million as of Sep 30, 2017. Capital expenditure in the quarter was $64 million.

Celanese generated operating cash flow of $255 million and free cash flow of $181 million. During the quarter, the company returned $262 million to shareholders, including $62 million of dividends.

Outlook

Moving ahead, the company expects business and productivity momentum to offset fourth-quarter weakness. Celanese is optimistic that it can grow its adjusted earnings per share for 2017 towards the top end of its earlier announced guidance range of 9-11%.

Price Performance

Celanese has outperformed the industry over a year. The company's shares have moved up around 47.8% over this period compared with roughly 31.7% gain recorded by the industry.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Celanese currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks in the chemical space are FMC Corporation FMC , Huntsman Corporation HUN and Air Products and Chemicals, Inc. APD .

FMC has expected long-term earnings growth of 11.3% and sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Huntsman has expected long-term earnings growth of 7% and flaunts a Zacks Rank #1.

Air Products has expected long-term earnings growth of 12.1% and carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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