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Celanese (CE) Hikes Prices of Acetyls in Europe & China

Chemical and advanced materials maker, Celanese Corporation CE announced that it will raise the list and off-list selling prices of industrial ethanol in China by RMB100 per metric ton (“MT”) and that of ethyl acetate by €30 in Europe. This price rise in the wake of recent market conditions is slated to be effective immediately, or as contracts permit.

Recently, Celanese also announced plans to increase the list and off-list selling prices of acetic acid in China by RMB200 per MT. This price rise was in response to market conditions.

We note that Celanese is still witnessing weak acetyl demand in China given the sluggish economic conditions. Going forward, Acetyl Intermediates’ margins are expected to remain under pressure in Asia due to soft demand. However, the company continues to focus on its productivity initiatives to support growth. Celanese expects adjusted earnings per share to increase 5–10% in 2016, which will keep it on track to meet its goals for 2018.

Celanese’s fourth-quarter 2015 adjusted earnings (excluding one-time items) of $1.25 per share fell 2.3% from $1.28 reported a year ago. Earnings, however, exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.23. On the other hand, sales in the fourth quarter declined roughly 14.4% year over year to $1,334 million. The figure also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,391 million.

Celanese’s shares closed 0.6% lower at $66.22 on Apr 4.

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

Some better-ranked companies in the diversified chemical space include Arkema S.A. ARKAY, Sinopec Shanghai Petrochemical Co. Ltd. SHI and The Dow Chemical Company DOW. All three stocks sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy),

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