Albemarle posted fourth-quarter profits of $13.1 million, or 14 cents a share, as the Baton Rouge-based chemical company was hit by the global economic slowdown. In the fourth quarter of 2007, the company earned $58.6 million, or 60 cents a share. Along with being stung by worldwide events, the company took a $38.5 million pre-tax charge in the quarter, related to the sale of a French chemical plant.
For 2008, Albemarle posted $194.2 million in profits, or $2.10 per share. That’s a 15.5% drop from the year before, when the company had earnings of $229.7 million or $2.36 per share. Business could be worse in the upcoming year: Company officials say they are “taking steps to restructure our operations and cut costs,” and they expect “2009 will be challenging until consumer demand returns and global markets rebound.”