Avient Corp. is updating its fourth-quarter financial expectations after better-than-expected results.
Avon Lake, Ohio-based Avient now expects adjusted earnings per share of 48 cents for the quarter, up from its previous expectation of 40 cents, officials said in a Dec. 14 news release. The firm — which changed its name from PolyOne Corp. on July 1 — posted adjusted EPS of 34 cents in the fourth quarter of 2019.
Company officials added that pro forma sales for October and November, including the acquisition of Clariant Masterbatch, were up 5.4 percent vs. the same two months in 2019.
"We expect to achieve record fourth quarter adjusted EPS … as recovering demand conditions around the world exceed the traditional seasonality we normally see this time of year," Chairman, President and CEO Robert Patterson said in the release.
Patterson added that Avient's overall demand "is better than we initially estimated in every region of the world" and that the firm is capturing synergies related to the Clariant deal.
Officials also said that Avient expects to end the year with approximately $600 million in cash, which it intends to use for future bolt-on acquisitions and/or share repurchases. Earlier in December, the firm's board of directors approved an increase of 5 million shares available for repurchases.
Patterson added that the financial results and a recent global employee engagement survey "reflect the strong cultural fit between legacy PolyOne and legacy Clariant Masterbatch associates, who have come together to create Avient during an otherwise incredibly challenging year."
"I am very proud of how we at Avient have taken care of each other and our customers as an essential supplier in the COVID-19 response and recovery effort," he said. "We remain very grateful for the work of health care professionals, first responders everywhere and those dedicated to helping the world combat and recover from the virus."
Avient's $1.4 billion purchase of Clariant Masterbatch closed July 1. The deal adds 46 manufacturing sites and technology centers in 29 countries and about 3,500 employees to Avient's previous total.
The business being acquired has annual sales of $1.1 billion. It will operate as part of Avient's Color, Additives and Inks unit. That unit is expected to post sales of $2 billion this year.
Packaging is the unit's single largest market, with 37 percent of sales, ahead of consumer goods at 22 percent. Geographically, 39 percent of the unit's sales come from Europe, with 32 percent from the U.S. and Canada. Officials have said the combined unit is more balanced on a geographic level than its predecessors.
Avient now employs 9,100 and expects to post sales of $3.7 billion for full-year 2020. The firm ranks as one of North America's largest compounder and concentrate makers and as one of the region's largest resin distributors.
On Wall Street, Avient's per-share stock price began 2020 near $35 but fell to around $15 in early March amid pandemic shutdowns. The price has since recovered and closed at just over $40 on Dec. 15, up about 14 percent vs. its Jan. 1 level.