Albemarle profit beats expectations on rising lithium prices
Albemarle, the world’s largest producer of lithium, has posted a quarterly profit that easily beat Wall Street’s expectations on rising demand from the electric vehicle industry.
The company reported first-quarter net income of $95.7mn, or 84 cents per share, compared with $107.2mn, or $1.01 per share, in the year-ago period, reports Reuters.
Excluding one-time items, Albemarle earned $1.10 per share. By that measure, analysts expected earnings of 80 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Shares of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company have nearly tripled in the past year, closing on Wednesday at $167.15, up 3.1% on the day. The stock was flat in after-hours trading.
Albemarle said the outlook for lithium sales has improved since 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to pause expansions and production in some regions. Prices for the white metal should improve for the rest of the year, the company forecast.
Albemarle is in the final stages of two projects to boost its lithium processing and expects to approve further expansion projects by June.
Weakness in Albemarle’s division that supplies crude oil refineries offset the surge in sales of lithium during the quarter. Albemarle is consulting with investors on the quarterly results.
In Janaury this year, Albermarle revealed it was expanding its lithium production facility at Silver Peak in Nevada. It will also begin a program to evaluate clays and other available Nevada resources for the commercial production of lithium, a critical mineral in green mobility, and comes as North American automotive manufacturers are looking to reorganise their supply chain for greater security and sustainability.
People Moves: Peter Cunningham appointed Rio Tinto CFO
Rio Tinto has appointed Peter Cunningham as Chief Financial Officer (CFO) with immediate effect. Peter, who has been Interim Chief Financial Officer since 1 January 2021, will also join the Rio Tinto Board as an executive director at the same time.
Peter Cunningham appointed Rio Tinto CFO
Peter Cunningham was previously Group Controller and has held a number of senior financial and non-financial leadership positions across Rio Tinto in Australia and the UK. In a career spanning 28 years with Rio Tinto, he has held roles including Global Head of Health, Safety, Environment & Communities; Head of Energy and Climate Strategy; and Head of Investor Relations.
Prior to joining Rio Tinto, Peter qualified as a chartered accountant.
Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm commented: “I am delighted to confirm Peter in the role and, having worked closely with him for a number of years, I know he is the ideal person to be our Chief Financial Officer. His detailed knowledge of the company and of the financial and non-financial drivers of our industry will be invaluable as we continue to strengthen Rio Tinto.”
Rio Tinto Chairman Simon Thompson added: "I look forward to Peter joining the Rio Tinto Board and know from experience that his deep understanding of Rio Tinto and commitment to disciplined capital allocation will serve shareholders well and enrich our Board discussions.”
Rio Tinto aiming for net zero by 2050
Rio Tinto is aiming to reach net zero emissions across its operations by 2050. Across the company, it is targeting a 15% reduction in absolute emissions and a 30% reduction in emissions intensity by 2030, from a 2018 baseline.
Aluminium is found in everything from cars to phones. But one of the challenges of producing this essential material responsibly is finding ways to decarbonise the process.
Part of the reason is creating alumina – the main ingredient in aluminium – takes a lot of energy, which in turn creates greenhouse gas emissions. New technologies will be essential to helping reduce emissions, but many haven’t been proven. And some not yet even discovered. Rio Tinto is partnering with the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA)to develop hydrogen energy options and make a positive step towards these goals.