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Ashland's (ASH) Earnings and Sales Miss Estimates in Q2

Ashland Global Holdings Inc. ASH swung to profits of $41 million or 66 cents per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2021 (ended Mar 31, 2021), from a loss of $582 million or $9.61 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Barring one-time items, adjusted earnings came in at $1.05 cents per share. It missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.36 per share.

Sales were down around 2% year over year to $598 million, also missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $632.6 million.

The company’s results were hurt by weather-related disruptions in the U.S. Gulf Coast and changing consumer habits amid the coronavirus pandemic. Its two Texas-based plants were shut down in the quarter for a period after the winter storms. Weather-related impacts for the quarter were around $11 million, mainly comprised of lost cost absorption, repair costs and higher freight costs. Ashland, however, benefited from improved industrial demand and cost-reduction actions.

 

Ashland Global Holdings Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

 

Ashland Global Holdings Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Ashland Global Holdings Inc. Quote

 

Segment Highlights

Consumer Specialties: Sales in the segment declined 6% year over year to $322 million in the reported quarter. The company saw flat pharma sales and improved demand in nutraceuticals. However, it witnessed lower sales in personal care and household due to the exit from lower-margin product lines and changing global consumer behavior for styling, grooming and oral-care.

Industrial Specialties: Sales in the division rose 3% year over year to $246 million on the back of strong demand for architectural coatings and adhesive applications. This was, in part, offset by soft U.S. energy markets and lower construction additive sales.

Intermediates & Solvents: Sales in the segment were flat year over year at $37 million, as increased merchant sales offset reduced internal sales due to the winter storms in the U.S. Gulf Coast.

Financials

Cash and cash equivalents rose around 6% year over year to $373 million at the end of the quarter. Long-term debt was $1,571 million at the end of the quarter, up around 2% year over year.

Cash provided by operating activities was $64 million in the reported quarter. Free cash flow was $40 million for the quarter.

Outlook

Ashland said that it expects to recover a part of the lost cost absorption for the full fiscal year as the affected facilities work to make up for some of the lost production during the fiscal second quarter. The company also reaffirmed its expectations for full-year results.

Price Performance

Shares of the company are up 41.1% in the past year against the industry’s 36.2% growth.

 

 

 

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Ashland currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).

Better-ranked stocks worth considering in the basic materials space include Nucor Corporation NUE, Dow Inc. DOW and Impala Platinum Holdings Limited IMPUY.

Nucor has a projected earnings growth rate of 228.4% for the current year. The company’s shares have rallied around 100% in a year. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Dow has a projected earnings growth rate of 261.5% for the current year. The company’s shares have shot up around 75% in a year. It currently sports a Zacks Rank #1.

Impala Platinum has an expected earnings growth rate of 197.6% for the current fiscal. The company’s shares have surged around 238% in the past year. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #1.

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