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Albemarle Reports Record Quarterly Net Sales and Operating Results
Date:4/21/2008

exchange rates. Catalysts segment income for the first quarter of 2008 increased 31 percent versus the first quarter of 2007 to $51.7 million, a quarterly record, due primarily to improved product mix in polyolefin catalysts, improved pricing in FCC refinery catalysts and favorable foreign currency exchange rates, partially offset by higher raw material costs.

Fine Chemicals net sales for the first quarter of 2008 were $147.5 million, a 6 percent increase versus the first quarter of 2007 due primarily to higher volumes from fine chemistry services. Segment income for the first quarter of 2008 decreased 4 percent versus the first quarter of 2007 to $21.5 million due to reduced volumes and higher costs in performance chemicals.

Cash Flow

In the first quarter of 2008, our cash and cash flow from operations funded capital expenditures for plant machinery and equipment of $20 million and dividends to shareholders of $9.7 million. We utilized availability under our credit agreement for repurchases of 4.1 million shares of our common stock for an aggregate cost of $151 million. During the quarter, interest and financing expenses were $10.2 million versus first quarter 2007 expenses of $8.9 million.

Taxes

Our first quarter 2008 effective income tax rate was 21.8 percent, slightly less than the 23 percent rate in first quarter 2007 but higher than the 2007 full year effective rate of 19.8 percent. Our tax rate is lower than the previously estimated annual effective tax rate forecast range for 2008 of 23.5 percent to 24.5 percent principally due to the level and mix of income sources for the quarter and the year and tax planning.

Outlook

We are increasing our presence in China with expansions underway that will help us grow flame retardants, antioxidants and fine chemicals in 2008. Absent a major global recession, we expect oil demand to remain strong and we have the catalyst production capacity on line to meet this growth in d
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SOURCE Albemarle Corporation
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