Grace reports falling income

Chemical maker W.R. Grace & Co. said Wednesday that its income in the third quarter fell 8 percent from a year earlier as it continues to deal with challenges in its catalysts business, which includes products used in oil refining.

But its earnings per share — after the Columbia company adjusted out costs related to its long-running bankruptcy proceedings, asbestos claims and business lines it no longer has — came in at $1.07 for the July through September period, beating market expectations of $1. Adjusted earnings were $1.04 per share a year ago, the company said.

Grace's stock price rose after the earnings announcement, but ultimately closed down 30 cents a share, to $92.21.

Without adjustments, earnings per share were 89 cents, down from 99 cents a year ago. Grace reported $69.4 million in net income, down from $75.5 million in the year-earlier period.

Operating income dropped nearly 16 percent in the company's catalysts division, but its two other business lines performed well. Operating income rose nearly 18 percent in its materials division, which includes silica-based products and sealants, and increased about 24 percent in its construction products business.

Grace has reorganizing in bankruptcy since 2001, when it faced mounting claims for asbestos-related illnesses. The company remains in Chapter 11 while it waits for a decision on an appeal to its reorganization plan.

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