Albemarle profit just misses estimates on weak lithium prices – ET Auto

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Lithium prices had fallen by more than 80% in the year up to March, according to a basket tracked by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Albemarle, the world’s largest producer of lithium for electric vehicle batteries, on Wednesday missed first quarter profit estimates on lower prices.

Softening Electric Vehicle (EV) demand has knocked down global lithium prices, hitting lithium producers such as Albemarle. Many producers worldwide have cut production and reduced their workforce.

Lithium prices had fallen by more than 80% in the year up to March, according to a basket tracked by Benchmark Mineral Intelligence.

Albemarle’s biggest segment, which focuses on products and technologies that enable the development and production of lithium-ion batteries used in electric vehicles, posted quarterly adjusted core profit of USD 198 million, compared with USD 1.57 billion the previous year.

Prices in the unit fell 89%.

Overall, Albemarle posted revenue of USD 1.36 million in the January to March period, down 47% from the year before, and slightly better than an analyst estimate of USD 1.31 billion, according to LSEG data.

However, the company reported an adjusted profit of 26 cents per share, below analysts’ average estimate of 27 cents per share.

Albemarle said the company in the first quarter logged more than USD 90 million in “productivity and restructuring cost savings,” putting it on track for USD 280 million in productivity benefits over the course of the year.

It did not detail what the cost-cutting measures in the first quarter included.

“Our team demonstrated agility in dynamic market conditions by continuing to deliver solid volumetric growth, ramping new conversion facilities, and executing cost reduction and productivity improvements,” said Kent Masters, CEO of the North Carolina-based company, in a statement.

The company in January said it would cut jobs and defer spending on a U.S. refinery project as part of a wide-ranging plan to save USD 750 million in cash flow.

Executives plan to hold a conference call on Thursday to discuss the results and outlook.

  • Published On May 2, 2024 at 12:30 PM IST

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