January 7, 2020 / 10:10 PM / 19 days ago

Livent cuts earnings outlook on lower lithium prices

FILE PHOTO: The company logo for lithium producer Livent Corp is displayed on a screen at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) during the company's IPO in New York, U.S., October 11, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

(Reuters) - Lithium producer Livent Corp (LTHM.N) on Tuesday cut its fourth quarter and annual earnings outlook due to a downturn in prices of the battery metal, sending shares down nearly 14% in extended trading.

Lithium producers such as Albemarle Corp (ALB.N), SQM (SQMA.SN) have scaled back expansion plans as near-term oversupply and falling demand in China drag lithium prices lower, unnerving investors who are pushing the industry to focus more on profitability.

“Current market conditions remain challenging, with lower prices seen across all regions and most end markets,” Chief Executive Officer Paul Graves said.

The company, which operates in northern Argentina, said it is reviewing its current capacity expansion plans and expects its 2020 adjusted core earnings to be lower than the previous year.

Livent cut its full-year 2019 revenue forecast to $385 million to $390 million from a previous range of $400 million to $410 million and adjusted profit per share outlook to a range of 40 cents to 42 cents from 44 cents to 47 cents earlier.

For the fourth quarter, the company now expects revenue in the range of $75 million to $80 million, compared with prior outlook range of $90 million to $100 million.

It expects quarterly adjusted earnings per share in the range of 4 cents to 6 cents from 8 cents to 11 cents earlier, partly hit by delayed customer orders.

Reporting by Shanti S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni

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