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Eastman Chemical (EMN) Gains on Cost-Cut Actions & Innovation

Eastman Chemical (EMN) is benefiting from cost-cutting and productivity actions as well as its innovation-driven growth model.

This story originally appeared on Zacks

Eastman Chemical Company EMN is benefiting from cost-cutting and productivity actions as well as its innovation-driven growth model. However, it is exposed to headwinds like high raw material costs and the impacts of the ongoing semiconductor shortage.

- Zacks

Shares of Eastman Chemical have surged 48.3% in the past year compared with 27.2% rise of the industry.

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Eastman Chemical, a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, is benefiting from cost cutting and productivity actions. It is undertaking a more aggressive approach to keep manufacturing costs in control. The company reduced costs by roughly $150 million in 2020. It is also on track with its cost-cutting actions in 2021, which are expected to contribute to its earnings per share. Eastman Chemical is expected to benefit from lower operating costs from its operational transformation program.

The company is also focused on generating new business revenues from innovation. It is investing around $250 million over 2021-2022 to construct one of the biggest plastic-to-plastic molecular recycling facilities in the world. The company expects $600 million of new business revenues from innovation in 2021. Eastman Chemical will likely gain from its strategic acquisitions and end-market recovery.

Eastman Chemical is also committed toward maintaining a disciplined approach to capital allocation, with an emphasis on financing its dividend and debt reduction. The company returned $328 million to shareholders through dividend payouts and share repurchases during second-quarter 2021. It expects to buyback shares worth roughly $250 million in the second half of this year. Eastman Chemical also anticipates free cash flow to exceed $1.1 billion for 2021.

However, the company faces headwinds from higher raw material, energy and distribution costs in some of its products. It witnessed unfavorable impacts from supply chain constraints and higher logistics costs in the most recent quarter. Headwinds associated with supply and logistics are likely to persist in the near term.

The slowdown in automotive production due to the semiconductor shortage is another concern. The chip shortage is affecting automotive production globally. The shortage, partly caused by the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, is disrupting production of parts and vehicles as well as affecting all major automotive original equipment manufacturers. This is likely to affect demand in the market over the near term.


Stocks to Consider

Some better-ranked stocks in the basic materials space are Nucor Corporation NUE, Dow Inc. DOW and Cabot Corporation CBT.

Nucor has a projected earnings growth rate of around 494% for the current year. The company’s shares have soared 159.5% 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 an expected earnings growth rate of around 403.01% for the current year. The company’s shares have gained 35.4% in the past year. It currently holds a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Cabot has an expected earnings growth rate of around 138.5% for the current fiscal. The company’s shares have rallied 43% in the past year. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2.

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