UPDATE 1-Rockwood Holdings Q4 results beat Wall Street view

Wed Feb 17, 2010 8:55am EST

* Q4 adj EPS $0.20 vs est $0.18

* Net sales from cont ops up 7 pct, beat estimates

* Says results helped by cost cuts, low raw-material costs

Feb 17 (Reuters) - Rockwood Holdings Inc ROC.N posted better-than-expected fourth-quarter results as the specialty chemicals company benefited from cost cuts and lower raw-material prices.

Quarterly net income from continuing operations was $11.3 million, or 15 cents a share, compared with a loss of $734.1 million, or $9.91, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company, which is composed of 10 individual business units, earned 20 cents a share. On that basis, analysts had expected the company to earn 18 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net sales from continuing operations rose more than 7 percent to $786.3 million, ahead of estimates of $770.1 million.

Net sales at its key specialty chemicals business increased 3 percent, helped by lower raw-material costs, which was partially offset by weaker selling prices of potash.

"As we enter the new year, it appears overall business activity is far healthier than it was a year ago, but we are not back to the levels of 2008," Chief Executive Seifi Ghasemi said in a statement.

The Princeton, New Jersey-based company's shares, which have risen about 175 percent in the last one year, were up 17 cents before the bell. They closed at $22.73 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Krishna N. Das in Bangalore; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott)