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Thursday, September 21, 2023

Lithium Producer Albemarle Falls, 2022 Guidance Below Expectations

Top lithium producer Albemarle (NYSE:ALB) published its profits outlook for 2022, missing some analysts’ expectations despite current favorable lithium market conditions.

Shares of the leading lithium miner were trading at US$205.47 when markets opened on Thursday (February 17), falling almost 15 percent from the previous day’s opening price.

The company, headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, sees earnings of between US$5.65 and US$6.65 per share in 2022, but analysts were expecting estimates to be higher given recent record-high lithium prices.

The company posted a net loss of US$3.8 million in Q4 2021 compared to a profit of US$84.60 in the same quarter a year ago. Albemarle said the main factors impacting profits were anticipated cost overruns from supply chain, labor and issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic at the Kemerton construction project in Australia.

In Q4, the company’s lithium net sales increased almost 13 percent, reaching US$404.7 million. Higher pricing supported sales, but was partially offset by lower volumes.

“Average realized pricing is expected to increase 40 to 45 percent reflecting tight market conditions and the implementation of variable price structures on long-term contracts,” the company said in a statement.

Albemarle owns lithium brine operations in Clayton Valley near Silver Peak in the US, as well as in the Salar de Atacama in Chile. It also has a 49 percent stake in Talison Lithium, which runs the massive hard-rock Greenbushes mine, and a 60 percent stake in the Wodgina hard-rock lithium mine in Western Australia.

“The strategic investments we’ve made in our lithium business as well as the progress of several key projects will enable us to potentially double our nameplate capacity by the end of 2022 and accelerate our Wave 3 projects,” said Kent Masters, the lithium-producing company’s CEO.

Although its share price fell sharply this week, Albemarle has been trending upwards since the beginning of the year, with many other US, Canadian and Australian lithium stocks also seeing year-to-date gains.

As of 12:00 p.m. EST on Thursday, shares of Albemarle were trading at US$201.45.

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Securities Disclosure: I, Priscila Barrera, currently hold no direct investment interest in any company mentioned in this article.

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