KINGSPORT, Tenn. (WJHL) — Eastman Chemical Co. reported fourth-quarter and full-year earnings Thursday and both were lower than the previous year — with fourth-quarter earnings of 89 cents per share missing the company’s own estimated range of $1.10 to $1.40.
In a forecast for 2023, CEO Mark Costa said the company would reduce costs by more than $200 million and “destock” inventory, though no mention of potential labor impact was made.
In a year that saw its January 2022 “steam line failure” take $39 million off the bottom line after insurance reimbursements, Eastman had adjusted earnings of $1.33 billion, 18% below 2021’s total of $1.64 billion. That decrease came despite sales revenue of $10.6 billion being slightly above 2021’s $10.5 billion.
“We ended the year with a challenging fourth quarter primarily due to lower demand in key end markets and geographies, customer inventory destocking beyond normal seasonality, and limited benefit from lower raw material and energy costs in this reduced demand environment,” CEO Mark Costa said in a news release.
Adjusted earnings, which remove “non-core and unusual items,” were $7.88 per share for the entire year, down from $8.85 for all of 2021.
One 2022 adjustment was listed under “steam line incident” and showed that after insurance proceeds, the company still lost $39 million from the late January failure that shook the ground for a large radius and blew piping insulation containing asbestos onto cars and homes in a radius of several blocks.
Eastman saw reduced demand for products throughout the year (3% lower sales volume) and more prominently in the fourth quarter. For the year, earnings decreased in its advanced materials and chemical intermediates segments, was flat in its fibers segment and saw an earnings increase in additives and functional products.
Costa touted what he said was progress on new business revenue growth despite the challenges. He also mentioned progress on the company’s “circular platform” during the year — rooted in its molecular recycling technology.
“(T)his remains an exciting opportunity for Eastman to create considerable value as a leader in providing a solution for the global plastic waste crisis,” Costa said. “We remain confident in the resiliency of our portfolio and the sustainability of our strong cash flow going forward.”
For the year, operating activities provided slightly more than half the net cash as 2021, $975 million to $1.6 billion in ’21.
Costa said 2023 would be a challenging year for the global economy. He said Eastman would likely practice “aggressive inventory destocking” — not producing a bunch of new products while selling off existing stock — before “modest volume recovery” in the second half of the year.
“In this context, we are taking actions to reduce manufacturing, supply chain and non-manufacturing costs by a total of more than $200 million in 2023, net of inflation,” Costa said.
Eastman is projecting adjusted earnings per share to grow by 5 to 15% in 2023, which would result in full-year EPS of between $8.28 and $9.06.