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Cabot (CBT) Gains on Strong End-Market Demand, Acquisitions

Cabot (CBT) benefits from a recovery in demand from the pandemic-led slowdown, its targeted growth initiatives and acquisitions.

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This story originally appeared on Zacks

Cabot Corporation CBT is benefiting from its growth actions, strong demand across regions and end markets and acquisitions.

Shares of Cabot, a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, have gained 21.5% over a year, compared with the 7% rise of its industry.

- Zacks

 

Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment Research



Cabot should gain from a recovery in demand from the pandemic-led slowdown, its disciplined execution of operations and targeted growth initiatives. It saw strong results in the Reinforcement Materials and Performance Chemical segments in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021. Results in Reinforcement Materials were driven by higher volumes across all regions and strong pricing in Asia. Higher demand in automotive and conductive applications contributed to the upside in Performance Chemical.

Cabot, in its fourth-quarter call, said that it sees continued strong end-market demand. It expects to benefit from higher volumes driven by strong forecasted levels of tire production and higher pricing in the Reinforcement Materials segment. In the Performance Chemicals segment, Cabot projects continued demand growth across its broad set of applications, with particular strength in battery materials and inkjet packaging.

The company should also benefit from the acquisition of Shenzhen Sanshun Nano New Materials. The acquisition significantly bolsters the market position and formulation capabilities of Cabot in the high-growth batteries market, especially in China. The buyout is also expected to create opportunities to expand Cabot’s position in the rapidly growing energy storage market.

Cabot, in Nov 2021, agreed to take over Tokai Carbon (Tianjin) Co., Ltd from Tokai Carbon Group for $9 million. The acquisition of the carbon black manufacturing facility, which was commissioned in 2006, is expected to boost growth of the company’s Battery Materials product line. The Tokai site has a present annual capacity of 50,000 metric tons of carbon black and Cabot’s planned investment will add more steam to the capabilities of battery-grade production.

The buyout of Tokai Carbon is in sync with Cabot’s strategy of executing growth opportunities in high-growth and high-performance markets such as battery materials. The investment will enable it to better meet the demand for lithium-ion batteries and run its operations responsibly such that they reduce the environmental impact.

However, the company is exposed to challenges from higher raw material costs and supply chain disruptions. It expects higher input costs in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 in the Performance Chemical unit. Higher raw material costs are likely to affect its margins.

The company’s Purification Solutions segment also faces headwinds from planned turnaround activities in the fiscal first quarter. It expects higher maintenance costs related to turnaround activities in the quarter.

Cabot, in Nov 2021, entered into an agreement to sell the Purification Solutions business to One Equity Partners. The company expects to recognize a pre-tax impairment charge in the range of $155-$165 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2022 in relation to the sale.

Stocks to Consider

Better-ranked stocks worth considering in the basic materials space include Albemarle Corporation ALB, Commercial Metals Company CMC and Olin Corporation OLN.

 

Albemarle, currently sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), has an expected earnings growth rate of 49.8% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ALB's current-year earnings has been revised 9.2% upward over the past 60 days. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Albemarle beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters, the average being 22.1%. ALB has rallied around 39% in a year.

Commercial Metals, carrying a Zacks Rank #1, has a projected earnings growth rate of 10.5% for the current fiscal year. CMC's consensus estimate for the current fiscal year has been revised 6.6% upward over the past 60 days.

Commercial Metals beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters while missed once. It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 7.4%, on average. CMC has rallied around 60% in a year.

Olin currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). OLN has a projected earnings growth rate of 4.2% for the current year.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Olin's current-year earnings has been revised 5.9% upward over the past 60 days. OLN shares have popped around 106% in a year.



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