Chemical maker W.R. Grace & Co. on Wednesday announced preliminary first-quarter net income of $52 million to $53 million, or 68 cents to 69 cents per diluted share.
Grace, based in Columbia, will report full earnings April 24 for the quarter that ended March 31. The company had reported earnings of $60.9 million, or 80 cents per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2012.
Preliminary results for the most recent quarter show operating income of $77 million for the catalysts technologies division, with sales of about $266 million, Grace said. Preliminary sales and earnings for the division, which makes products used in chemical manufacturing, fell below company expectations because of losses and delays of expected sales at nine large customers, Grace said.
Operating income for the materials technologies segment, which makes specialty packaging products, and for the construction products segment, which makes specialty construction chemicals and building materials, rose more than 10 percent compared with first quarter 2012 results, in line with expectations. But weaker than expected economic conditions in Europe have hurt sales growth of all three segments, the company said.
Grace said Wednesday that it expects 2013 earnings before interest and taxes of $540 million to $560 million, an increase of 4 percent to 8 percent compared with last year.