* Q2 adj EPS 58 cents vs. Wall St forecast 54 cents
* Revenue slips to $2.91 billion; misses Street view
* Polyurethane demand helps lift revenue, profit
By Ernest Scheyder
Aug 1 Chemical maker Huntsman Corp
reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday,
driven by strong demand for polyurethanes used in foam
The company's stock was up 2.8 percent at $13.00 in morning
trading after jumping as much as 6.6 percent after the opening
Second-quarter net income rose to $124 million, or 52 cents
per share, from $114 million, or 47 cents per share, a year
Excluding restructuring charges and other one-time items,
Huntsman earned 58 cents per share. By that measure, analysts on
average expected 54 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue dipped 0.7 percent to $2.91 billion. Analysts
expected $3.02 billion.
Earnings and revenue in the company's polyurethane unit
jumped sharply, helped by sales of foam for cushions to
automakers like BMW.
In the pigments unit, volume fell, primarily because of weak
demand for Huntsman's titanium dioxide, or Ti02.
Customers, especially in Asia, held off on purchases of the
paint pigment. Higher selling prices helped offset the drop in
volume, Huntsman said.
DuPont is the world's largest producer of the
critical pigment, which is used to give paint and other coatings
a white hue. Last week it also said demand for Ti02 had fallen.
Despite the drop, DuPont said demand for Ti02 would not be
as soft as some fear, an outlook that Wall Street met with
Huntsman warned that profit from its Ti02 business would be
lower in 2012 than in 2011.
"We have heard of increased use of lower-quality Chinese
materials," Chief Executive Officer Peter Huntsman said on a
conference call with investors.
On Wednesday, Wells Fargo chemical industry analyst Frank
Mitsch praised Huntsman for its frank comments on Ti02 demand
and said the company had "established itself as the
most-realistic voice on the industry and foresees margin
pressure and volume weakness ahead."
Huntsman said the company had yet to see all the benefits
from its ongoing restructuring program, although he warned that
plant outages would increase.
"We expect our earnings in the third quarter to be
sequentially lower than the second," Huntsman said.