Albemarle, the world’s largest producer of lithium, has posted a quarterly profit that easily beat Wall Street’s expectations on rising demand from the electric vehicle industry.
The company reported first-quarter net income of $95.7mn, or 84 cents per share, compared with $107.2mn, or $1.01 per share, in the year-ago period, reports Reuters.
Excluding one-time items, Albemarle earned $1.10 per share. By that measure, analysts expected earnings of 80 cents per share, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
Shares of the Charlotte, North Carolina-based company have nearly tripled in the past year, closing on Wednesday at $167.15, up 3.1% on the day. The stock was flat in after-hours trading.
Albemarle said the outlook for lithium sales has improved since 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic forced the company to pause expansions and production in some regions. Prices for the white metal should improve for the rest of the year, the company forecast.
Albemarle is in the final stages of two projects to boost its lithium processing and expects to approve further expansion projects by June.
Weakness in Albemarle’s division that supplies crude oil refineries offset the surge in sales of lithium during the quarter. Albemarle is consulting with investors on the quarterly results.
In Janaury this year, Albermarle revealed it was expanding its lithium production facility at Silver Peak in Nevada. It will also begin a program to evaluate clays and other available Nevada resources for the commercial production of lithium, a critical mineral in green mobility, and comes as North American automotive manufacturers are looking to reorganise their supply chain for greater security and sustainability.