(Reuters) - U.S. chemical maker Huntsman Corp’s (HUN.N) fourth-quarter adjusted profit comfortably beat analysts’ estimates, helped by higher demand for polyurethane used in foam insulation and paint pigments.
Huntsman’s shares were up 7 percent at $23.62 in light trading before the bell on Tuesday.
Revenue in the pigments business rose 3 percent.
Huntsman’s $1.1 billion deal for Rockwood Holdings Inc’s ROC.N titanium dioxide pigments business is expected to close in the first half of 2014.
The buyout will make Huntsman second only to DuPont DD.N in the market for titanium dioxide, a key white pigment used in paint, sunscreen and myriad other consumer goods.
“Aggressive self-help measures that have re-focused our efforts on key markets ... are yielding benefits to the bottom line,” Chief Executive Peter Huntsman said in a statement.
Rise in demand for polyurethane led to an increase in sales of 4 percent in the company’s biggest business in the quarter ended December 31.
The polyurethane business accounted for more than 45 percent of the company’s revenue in the quarter. Total revenue rose 3 percent to $2.71 billion, slightly above analysts’ expectations.
Huntsman reported a profit of $41 million, or 17 cents per share, compared with a loss of $40 million, or 17 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, Huntsman earned 48 cents per share, above analysts’ estimate of 37 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Huntsman’s shares have risen about 17 percent in the past 12 months until Monday’s close of $22.13 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting by Anannya Pramanick and Kanika Sikka in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D'Souza, Maju Samuel