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Albemarle Jumps as Earnings and Sales Rise to Records

Albemarle Corp. (ALB), the world’s biggest maker of refinery catalysts, climbed the most in more than two years as rising prices for flame retardants helped lift first-quarter sales and earnings to a record.

Albemarle rose $7.05, or 12 percent, to $64.87 at 4:15 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading, the biggest gain since November 2008. The shares have increased 16 percent this year.

Net income increased 68 percent to $106.6 million, or $1.15 a share, from $63.3 million, or 69 cents, a year earlier, Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Albemarle said yesterday in a statement. Sales rose 20 percent to $696.5 million. Analysts projected profit of 96 cents, the average of 11 estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Analysts also predicted sales of $636.3 million.

The polymer additives unit, which makes flame retardants for electronics, contributed most of the earnings surprise, according to analysts at KeyBanc Capital Markets, Jefferies and Co. and JPMorgan Chase & Co.

The company will earn more than $4 a share this year, exceeding its 2012 earnings forecast a year early, Chief Executive Officer Mark Rohr said on a conference call with analysts today. Profit in 2011 is estimated to be $4.08, the average of 12 analysts in the survey.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jack Kaskey in Houston at jkaskey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Simon Casey at scasey4@bloomberg.net

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