DALLAS - Celanese Corp. reported first-quarter 2010 net sales of $1,388 million, up 21 percent from the same period last year. The increase was primarily driven by significantly higher volumes across most businesses, particularly in Advanced Engineered Materials, as a result of the global economic recovery. Operating profit was a loss of $14 million compared with a profit of $27 million in the prior-year period. This quarter’s results included $135 million of other charges and other adjustments, primarily associated with the proposed closure of the company’s acetate manufacturing facility in Spondon, Derby, UK. Net earnings were a profit of $18 million compared with a loss of $20 million in the same period last year, with earnings from equity investments and dividends from cost investments $49 million higher than the prior-year period.
Adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter of 2010 were $0.67 compared with $0.08 in the same period last year. Results for the first quarter of 2009 included an inventory accounting impact of approximately $32 million before taxes primarily related to the negative effects of first-in, first-out (FIFO) accounting. Adjusted earnings per share for the first quarter of 2010 are based on an effective tax rate of 20 percent and a diluted share count of 158.9 million.
Due to the improved economic climate, the company increased its expectation for growth in 2010 to more than $250 million of operating EBITDA compared with 2009. The company had previously expected improved operating EBITDA of approximately $200 million, absent a significant economic catalyst.