WR Grace 4Q results top Wall Street's expectations

WR Grace 4th-quarter results top analysts' estimates; stock hits an all-time high

Associated Press

COLUMBIA, Md. (AP) -- W.R. Grace & Co. moved to a loss in its fourth quarter, dragged down by a hefty charge. Its adjusted results and revenue topped Wall Street's estimates, however, and the stock hit an all-time high.

The chemical and building materials maker lost $111.6 million, or $1.48 per share, for the three months ended Dec. 31. That compares with a profit of $58.1 million, or 77 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding a $365 million charge, which is an adjustment to asbestos-related liabilities on the company's balance sheet, earnings were $1.11 per share. Analysts forecast earnings of $1.06 per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue dropped 3 percent to $797.8 million from $825.6 million, hurt by the stronger dollar and lower rare earth surcharges. This still topped Wall Street's prediction of $790.1 million in revenue. W.R. Grace said sales in emerging regions represented 39 percent of the total and grew 16 percent year over year.

Shares of W.R. Grace rose $2.78, or 3.8 percent, to $75.41 in afternoon trading. It reached an all-time high of $76.30 earlier in the session.

For the year, W.R. Grace earned $94.1 million, or $1.23 per share. In 2011 the Columbia, Md., company earned $269.4 million, or $3.57 per share. Adjusted earnings were $4.17 per share. Annual revenue fell 2 percent to $3.16 billion from $3.21 billion.

Looking ahead, W.R. Grace expects 2013 revenue in a range of $3.2 billion to $3.3 billion, while analysts expect revenue of $3.3 billion.

The company originally filed for bankruptcy protection in April 2001 so it could resolve its asbestos-related liabilities. A bankruptcy court reaffirmed its reorganization plan in June, but several parties filed to appeal.

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