Motley Fool  Sep 26  Comment 
Vertical Research penned the report that trashed the lithium industry. Yesterday, a similarly named firm took aim at one of its stars.
Motley Fool  Sep 20  Comment 
If you're interested in lithium stocks, this comparison should help you make investment decisions.
Yahoo  Sep 6  Comment 
Albemarle (ALB) reported earnings 30 days ago. What's next for the stock? We take a look at earnings estimates for some clues.
Yahoo  Sep 5  Comment 
The comments, which have not previously been publicly reported, come at a time of rapid growth and cutthroat competition across the lithium sector as Albemarle seeks to tap into surging demand for high-tech batteries like those used in Tesla Inc's...
Reuters  Aug 30  Comment 
As global demand for lithium hits overdrive, Albemarle Corp is investing millions of dollars to engineer specialized types of the light metal for electric car batteries, part of a strategy to remain the niche market's top producer.
Motley Fool  Aug 10  Comment 
The business supporting the top lithium stock is showing no signs of slowing down. Will Wall Street stop punishing the stock?


Albemarle (ALB) supplies chemicals used to produce fire retardant safety materials and petroleum products. With sales of $2.34 billion in 2007, Albemarle is the world leader in flame retardant chemicals, which are used in the insulation of buildings, electronics, cars and electrical wires. The company also supplies refining chemicals to major US oil companies such as Exxon Mobil (XOM) and ChevronTexaco (CVX). Albemarle's production relies on mining and refining bromine, a chemical used in one-third of its products, and the company has vast bromine reserves in Arkansas, giving it control over the supply of this key input and a competitive advantage over other US chemical companies.

In 2007, Albemarle increased net income by 15.9% even though sales decreased by 1%. The decrease in sales can be partly attributed to weak US markets, especially in the automotive and housing industries. The other factor contributing to decreased sales was the closure of a manufacturing facility in Thann, France - but this is also the cause of the increase in net income, because Albemarle incurred a $89.2 million fee when it closed down the facility in 2006. Another catalyst of 2007 performance was the increased efficiency of production that was moved to China, evidenced by a decrease of $104 million in cost of goods sold. Albemarle used the resources freed by outsourcing to increase research and development spending by 32.6% in 2007.[1]

Albemarle sells its products globally, with the Americas accounting for 44% of sales, Europe, the Middle East and Africa accounted for 39% and Asia Pacific the other 17%. In 2008 the company will expand its influence in Asia, especially in China, as it completed two joint ventures in China in 2007 to increase production. The company will expand its research center in Nanjing and construct a third plant to manufacture solely fire retardant chemicals, replacing the facility closed in '06. [2]

Tea does have antioxidants in it but the aunmot varies by type. Green tea and white tea have more than Black/red, and oolong/blue does. However, if you steep green tea in boiling water rather than hot water it destroys much of the antioxidants.As far as if it has more than a bowl of fruit that simply is hard to tell. What kind of fruit is it? How big of a bowl? How fresh is it? How rich was the soil it was grown in? All of this plays a factor.Regardless though fruit has much more nutrition than just antioxidants which makes it better for you in that sense. Plus since fruit is full of water and natural sugars it is real good to eat.While tea in moderation is fine it won't add water as another poster stated. Caffeine takes more water to process than the tea provides so it takes extra water from our bodies. This means they do not provide water at all in fact teas dehydrate. Green and white tea have less caffeine than oolong/blue and black/red teas do. Green tea has 30mg per serving compared to black which has 50mg per serving. That can alter too depending on how long you let the tea steep and brew.The maximum safe level of daily caffeine intake we should consume is 300mg. So this means only 6 cups of black/red tea if you consume no other caffeine and up to 10 of green tea.RCA

Business Financials

Albemarle operates through three business segments: polymer additives, catalysts and fine chemicals. Polymer additives and catalysts make up the bulk of the company’s sales, and flame retardant chemicals and oil refining chemicals are the main products of these respective segments. Fine chemicals are miscellaneous chemicals the company produces, such as pure bromine and bromine compounds.


Although net sales decreased in 2007, the company has grown substantially in the past 5 years, as seen in a 110% increase in sales. Outpacing the growth in sales, net income has grown 248% over the same period, signaling that the company has been able to lower average costs as production increases. In the past year, sales decreased $33 million while net income increased $32 million. The net income increased mainly because the 2006 numbers were skewed by a large loss of $89.2 million as Albemarle closed a plant in Thann, France.[4] On the other hand, in 2007, the company was able to lower the costs of goods sold by $104 million.[5]



Although the company’s two main products are fire retardant and oil refining chemicals, Albemarle produces a variety of other chemicals and its sales are not concentrated in any one product. With sales of $904.5 and $894.2 million, polymer additives and catalysts are the largest segments of the company. In 2007, polymer additives and fine chemicals decreased in sales, while the strong demand for oil globally increased catalyst sales by 6.6%.[8] Albemarle has a global network of customers. While US oil companies are the single largest customers of Albemarle, more than half of Albemarle’s sales occur outside the Americas.[9]

Key Trends and Forces

Expansion in Asia is crucial to future success

In 2007, Albemarle successfully completed two joint venture manufacturing sites in China, which will lower production costs and expand production volume. In the future, the company plans to expand manufacturing bases in Asia as well as push its products to the Asian market. With the booming Chinese economy, demand for electronics, housing materials and automotive parts will increase. Since Albemarle’s polymer additives business serves mainly those businesses, the company expects sales in the Asia Pacfic region to increase in 2008.[10] Albemarle has also begun moving manufacturing sites to China to reduce production costs. In 2006, Albemarle closed a facility in Thann, France, and in 2007 it reallocated production from an Ohio plant to plants in China. So far, this strategy has paid off - Albemarle’s cost of goods sold decreased $104 million in 2007. In addition, Albemarle opened their first research facility in China in 2007. This research facility adds to Albemarle’s aggressive approach to the Asian market.

The increasing global demand for oil will increase demand for oil refining chemicals

As oil prices rise globally, there is an increasing need for companies to lower refining costs and find efficient methods to refine oil. Albemarle produces catalysts that help chemical reactions take place faster, and at lower temperatures, which lowers the production costs of oil companies. As global oil prices rise, the demand for oil refining chemicals continues to grow.[11] In 2007, sales for catalysts increased $55.2 million from the year before. Albemarle’s main clients for oil refining chemicals include Exxon Mobil (XOM), Royal Dutch Shell (RDS'A) and ChevronTexaco (CVX). Albemarle in addition supplies national oil companies in Mexico, Brazil and Saudi Arabia. [12]

Increasingly stringent fire-safety requirements will increase demand for fire retardants

With building codes in the US and across the world becoming ever more stringent on fire-safety, there is a need for more fire retardant materials. This increase in demand boosts Albemarle’s sales. Additionally, electronics prone to overheating are now requiring more fire retardant chemicals to prevent fires and meltdowns. Albemarle’s fire retardant chemicals are now commonly found in computers, mp3 players and other household electronics. For example, Sony uses fire retardant chemicals in its laptop batteries to contain a fire when the battery malfunctions.

The hyperinflation in raw materials and energy might hurt Albemarle’s profit

Albemarle’s raw materials are other chemicals. The massive price increases on some of these chemicals have cut into Albemarle’s profit in past years. For example, molybdenum prices are currently 600% of its 10-year average, and in 2005, Albemarle saw its greatest increase in raw material costs to date, $167 million in one year. Energy costs, mostly due to natural gas prices, have also risen in each of the past 5 years. To mitigate these factors, Albemarle has increased prices and passed the costs on to its customers. Although competitors have followed these price increases and Albemarle has been able to keep margins mostly intact, the increase in costs forced the shutdown of the company’s manufacturing plant in Thann, France. Albemarle's main advantage in raw materials is its in-house production of bromine. By not having to purchase its bromine, Albemarle has a cost advantage over its competitors. Moreover, Albemarle has secured a long term bromine source in Arkansas, giving the company a stable source for the next 50 years.[13]

Low tax rate negotiations in foreign countries will boost Albemarle’s income

As Albemarle expands overseas, it has effectively negotiated low average tax rates to help its business. For example, Albemarle’s joint ventures in China enjoy tax free operations. Operations in other counties, such as Jordan, also have low tax rates. Albemarle’s average tax rate of 25% is significantly below the US corporate tax rates of 35% and above. [14]


  • Chemtura Corporation: Chemtura is Albemarle’s most direct competitor in the US. With polymer additives representing 48% of Chemtura’s sales in 2007, Chemtura and Albemarle are two of the world’s leaders in fire retardant chemicals and bromine chemicals. Chemtura, faced with similar rising raw material costs, has matched Albemarle’s price increases continuously.
  • Israel Chemicals: Israel Chemicals compete with Albemarle on fire retardants and bromine chemicals. Along with Chemtura, these three companies control the world’s supply of fire retardant chemicals. In addition, Israel Chemicals share much of the same bromine mining sites in Jordan’s Dead Sea. Albemarle, however, does hold an advantage in having additional mining sites in Arkansas, the only other place in the world with large bromine deposits. Israel Chemicals has annual sales of $4.1 billion and is listed on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.
  • Engelhard Corporation: Albemarle competes with Engelhard, owned by German chemical company BASF, on mainly refining chemicals and catalysts. Engelhard has a heavy influence on the catalyst industry, having invented the catalytic converter that is found in every car in the world.
  • W.R. Grace (GRA): With their core business in manufacturing oil refining chemicals, W.R. Grace has annual sales of $3.1 billion. In the US, W.R. Grace is Albemarle’s biggest competitor in oil refining chemicals. W.R. Grace has paralleled Albemarle’s strategy of building manufacturing facilities in China.


  1. ALB 2007 10K, Item 1, page 6
  2. Albemarle 1st quarter profit climbs, Reuters, April 21, 2008
  3. ALB 2007 Annual Report, page 2
  4. ALB 2007 10K, Item 7, page 25
  5. ALB 2007 10K, Item 7, page 25
  6. ALB 2007 Annual Report, page 2
  7. ALB 2007 Annual Report, page 2
  8. ALB 2007 10K, Item 7, page 28
  9. ALB 2007 10K, Item 1, page 5
  10. ALB 2007 10K, Item 7, page 24
  11. ALB 2007 10K, Item 1, page 5
  12. Ablemarle 1st quarter profit climbs, Reuters, April 21, 2008
  13. ALB 2007 10K, Item 1, page 4
  14. ALB 2007 10K, Item 7, page 24
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