Albemarle reports 4th-quarter profit gain

Baton Rouge-based specialty chemicals maker Albemarle Corp.’s fourth-quarter earnings jumped to $88.4 million, or $1.08 per share, compared to $37.7 million, or 42 cents per share, a year ago.

The company’s results included charges associated with non-operating pension and other post-employment benefits of $1.09 per share.

Earnings for the full year were $342.3 million, or $4.06 per share, compared to $436.2 million, or $4.85 per share, a year earlier.

CEO Luke Kissam said the fourth-quarter results reflected an excellent year for refinery catalysts, although those sales were offset somewhat by softer markets for flame retardants and fluids used to complete oil or gas wells.

The company began restructuring its workforce in the fourth quarter, laying off 230 workers worldwide, in a move designed to shift Albemarle’s focus to more profitable lines of business.

Albemarle reported its earnings after the markets closed Tuesday. The company’s stock closed at $63.20, down 39 cents.