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Chemtura (NYSE:CHMT)

Q4 2012 Earnings Call

February 26, 2013 9:00 am ET

Executives

Dalip Puri - Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer

Craig A. Rogerson - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Stephen C. Forsyth - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Analysts

Michael J. Ritzenthaler - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Steven Schwartz - First Analysis Securities Corporation, Research Division

Dmitry Silversteyn - Longbow Research LLC

Edward H. Yang - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Ivan M. Marcuse - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Joseph Stauff - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

John E. Roberts - The Buckingham Research Group Incorporated

Roger N. Spitz - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Alexia S. Quadrani - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Bill Hoffman - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Operator

Good morning. My name is Justin, and I'll be your conference operator for today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2012 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] And Dalip Puri is the Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer. You may begin your conference.

Dalip Puri

Thank you, Justin. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. We are pleased to present our fourth quarter and full year 2012 operating results, as well as update you on our initiatives and share our outlook for the first quarter and full year of 2013. With me today are Craig Rogerson, Chemtura's Chairman, President and CEO, who will present an overview of our performance and provide highlights for each of our business segments; and Stephen Forsyth, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, who will present select financial results achieved in the quarter. After the presentations, we will open up the line for your questions and comments.

We filed our fourth quarter and full year 2012 operating results on our annual report on Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission last night. And to complement our recent press release, we have posted our quarterly investor call presentation, all of which can be found on the Investor Relations section of Chemtura's website. As a reminder, some of the statements made during this conference call about future performance of the company may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal securities laws. Please note the cautionary language about our forward-looking statements presented in our 10-K and press release. That same language applies to this call. Reconciliations related to any non-GAAP financial measures discussed on this call may be found in our press release or earnings presentation, again, both of which are posted on our website.

Finally, this call is being broadcast and recorded and will be available for replay on our website. Your joining this conference call constitutes your consent to the recording and broadcast of this call.

I will now turn the call over to Craig Rogerson. Craig?

Craig A. Rogerson

Thanks, Dalip. Good morning, everybody, and thank you for joining us today. I'll begin by comments by noting the reporting change following the announcement of our agreement to sell our Antioxidants business and the resulting application of discontinued operations treatment. It provide investors with a first look at how our portfolio transformation actions can reposition Chemtura but requires we look at updated performance comparisons.

2012 was a year of significant progress against our goals on many fronts. While sales for the calendar year from continuing operations were essentially flat at $2.6 billion, we delivered gross margins of 26%, we expanded adjusted EBITDA margins by 110 basis points to 14%, and we expended operating income margins on a managed basis by 120 basis points to 8.5%. Excluding the stranded costs that we will eliminate in 2013, our adjusted EBITDA and operating income margins on a managed basis would have been 14.6% and 9.1%, respectively.

Our strategic target of 20% adjusted EBITDA margins no longer seems much of a stretch based on these improvements. The impact of these performance improvements drove net earnings from continuing operations on a managed basis 27% higher to $1.16 per share. Free cash flow for 2012 was $78 million, a significant step-up from the $1 million we earned in 2011.

The path to achieving our goals is taken a step at a time. We therefore take pride in the fact that we delivered year-on-year improvement each quarter in adjusted EBITDA, albeit the fourth quarter improvement was relatively modest. Our Chemtura AgroSolutions business delivered the greatest improvement in 2012 amongst the portfolio. With the benefit of a reenergized new product and registration pipeline launching over 110 new products in 2012, strength in distribution channels and the benefit of cost rationalization we started 2011, adjusted EBITDA increased by 88% compared to 2011, expanding adjusted EBITDA margins for the segments reaching 19.3% for 2012. This segment is now delivering the levels of performance we expect based on its distinguished history with more to come.

Industrial Engineered Products had a solid year despite facing difficult conditions in some of the industries we serve. They faced weak demand conditions on electronics and weakening demand for tin and aluminum-based organometallics applications in automotive, glass and polyolefin end markets. They were able to fully offset these revenue declines from growth in insulation foam, mercury control, Clear Brine Fluid and Fine Chemical applications.

The diversification of applications served through innovation paid dividends in 2012. As a result, adjusted EBITDA margins for the year expanded by 70 basis points to 20.6%.

It is worth noting that we now have 2 of our 4 segments in the range of our 20% adjusted EBITDA goal. For those of you who attended our Investor Day in December, you heard the leaders of these segments expressed a view that 20% is not ceiling and that higher margins are clearly possible. Both segments had quarters during 2012 when they exceeded the 20% adjusted EBITDA goal.

For Industrial Performance Product segments, now just Petroleum Additives and Urethanes, 2012 was a tougher year. Many of the industries they serve felt the impact of slowing demand as the year progressed, particularly in Asia Pacific. As a result, 2012 net sales were down 5% compared to 2011 and adjusted EBITDA was 11% lower, and adjusted EBITDA margins, 90 basis points lower, at 14.5%. Unlike Industrial Engineered Products, this segment was not able to generate enough revenues from new applications to offset the impact of demand conditions in the traditional markets. Building application diversity through innovation, particularly in our Petroleum Additives products business, remains one of our highest priorities.

During the year, we changed the leadership of Petroleum Additives with a view towards driving faster innovation and improved performance. In 2012, Consumer Products began to improve profitability after their unusually weak performance in 2011. Despite a weak European season due to weather and a weak euro, they recovered the mass-market customer they have lost in 2011, introduced new products and focused on reducing costs. The net result was a 100 basis point increase in adjusted EBITDA margins and a 14% increase in reported adjusted EBITDA. They have more improvements in the pipeline for 2013, including new products for the 2013 season.

In 2012, we demonstrated our focus on actively managing our portfolio, announcing the agreement to sell the Antioxidants business and the agreement to acquire the bromine and brominated products assets of Solaris ChemTech Industries Limited.

In 2012, we returned value to our shareholders by repurchasing 1.4 million shares of common stock under our share repurchase program for $20 million.

Last but not least, in the area of personnel safety, in 2012, Chemtura recorded the lowest injury rate the corporation has ever achieved, putting Chemtura among the leaders in the chemical industry as reported by the America Chemical Council.

Chemtura was also recognized by the ACC -- at the ACC Annual Meeting as the winner of the Initiative of the Year Award for our development of a learning organization program.

As I have already noted, the fourth quarter delivered a modest year-over-year improvement in adjusted EBITDA, demonstrating strong earnings power across the businesses despite a weaker global economy. Performance in the quarter was led by our Chemtura AgroSolutions and Consumer Products businesses, both of which performed strongly in one of their seasonally weaker quarters and delivered significant improvement over the fourth quarter of 2011. For Chemtura AgroSolutions, the quarter's performance once again demonstrated the strength of our distribution channels and our ability to launch new products effectively. Our Consumer Products business is recovering from the lows of 2011. And early indications suggest that our new 2013 product introductions are successfully differentiating our offering versus the competition.

As for our Industrial segments, they continue to face less favorable business conditions due to continued weakness in global demand for key product applications. While the economic environment continues to be a challenge, we remain focused on things we can control such as driving improvements in new product innovations and new applications.

Our Great Lakes Solutions business was able to deliver further year-on-year improvement as a result of the expanded diversity of applications they now serve across various end markets. They even saw a modest improvement in electronic sales compared sequentially to the third quarter of 2012 and over the fourth quarter of 2011, while sales in this sector are still below the levels of the first half of 2012.

Demand for our organometallic tin products used in traditional automotive and glass applications remained weak during the quarter, and sales of products used in polyolefin polymerization catalysts declined. Growth from new applications and the benefit of additional capacity could not fully offset these headwinds for our OMS business in the quarter. Our customers, however, have low inventory levels coming out of 2012, which should drive higher demand for our traditional tin products. This, in addition to the strong demand we are seeing from new end markets, such as LED lighting and pharmaceuticals, give us reason to remain optimistic going forward.

Our Industrial Performance Products faced the greatest challenge in Q4. Petroleum Additives saw further weakening in global demand for key product applications throughout the quarter and while additional sales opportunities were discovered to offset the lower unit volumes, the margins on these sales were lower, and as a result, fell short of last year's performance.

For those of you who studied the bridges in the quarterly investor deck that accompanies our earnings announcement, you will see that it was manufacturing costs and absorption variances resulting from lower unit sales volume in certain product lines that most impacted performance of our Industrial segments in the quarter. As a result, adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations in the fourth quarter was $75 million as compared to $74 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. As I mentioned earlier, just a modest improvement.

Adjusted EBITDA for 2012, again, treating Antioxidants as a discontinued operation, increased from $336 million at the end of 2011 to $367 million as of December 31, 2012, with margins expanding from 12.9% to 14%.

Now let me talk a little bit about the outlook for 2013. We enter 2013 with the expectation that we will deliver another year of improvement whether or not the economy cooperates. We are committed to delivering further improvement through a relentless focus on what we can control. Our current focus is completing our 2 announced portfolio transactions, the sale of our Antioxidants business and the Solaris acquisition, as soon as we receive all the requisite government approvals.

In closing the Antioxidant transaction, our next step is to promptly eliminate the stranded costs associated with the business and implement the ongoing transition service and product supply agreements. Our plans are in place to eliminate the stranded costs, and our board has approved the required restructuring program just earlier -- or late last week. The immediate goal of these actions is to restore our remaining businesses pre-divestiture percentage margins by rapidly eliminating the stranded costs arising from the Antioxidant sale.

Both our Chemtura AgroSolutions and Consumer segment should deliver further year-on-year improvement in the first quarter and throughout 2013. Chemtura AgroSolutions has another large slate of new products and registrations to introduce in 2013 as was described at our Investor Day presentation.

Our Consumer Products segment has introduced new products for 2013 and have been well received by both our large retailers and our dealers. They will continue to execute on revenue growth opportunities and tightly managing their manufacturing operations and costs.

For our Industrial segments, in terms of demand, the first quarter so far has tracked to comparable levels for the fourth quarter of 2012. The demand environment is less robust than it was a year ago, which creates significant headwinds for them this quarter, but there are some early signs that maybe things will be improving. Nevertheless, our Industrial segments do expect further improvement as the year progresses. They continue to invest in innovation and bringing products with improved performance to existing customers and accessing new applications and new customers, which will continue to drive revenue and profitable growth.

For example, Great Lakes Solutions anticipates further growth from insulation foam and mercury control applications. Organometallics added manufacturing capacity in 2012 to expand output of MAO, which is used in single-site catalysts. It is now expanding the customer base and revenues for these products. Petroleum Additives will have the benefit in the second half of this year from the European High Viscosity PAO plant for synthetic lubricants in the Netherlands and the synthetic grease capacity coming on line later in the year in our Nantong, China facility. Urethanes continues their exciting joint development program with Caterpillar, and we'll also have the benefit of urethanes production in our Nantong facility by the end of 2013 as well.

Each of our segments of our functional groups will also continue our focus on margin management and the cost reduction initiatives that expanded the percentage margins again in 2012. Improved economic demand conditions in 2013 from the industrial markets we serve, either regionally or globally, will obviously leverage our performance. While we've not professed to have any greater insight as to when and where that recovery will occur, we do see opportunities for recovery.

There is optimism in our Asian customers -- and I was just there early this year -- particularly in China, which suggested that this recovery may well be led by the Asia Pacific region. We are most leveraged to a recovery in electronics demand, which certainly could be led by higher consumer spending in the Asia Pacific region. With the investments we have made in people and facilities, our businesses are better positioned than in the past to capture the benefits of economic recovery as it occurs.

So as we enter 2013, we'll be smaller before we get bitter -- bigger. Maybe a little bitter but bigger, certainly, but in the process we are focusing our resources on our most differentiated businesses, differentiated by technology, distribution channels and by customer and application knowledge. These are the businesses and segments that can create value for our customers and can support our margin expansion goals. They are exposed to secular growth trends, which help offset macroeconomic influence and business performance and above all, deliver sustainable organic growth and revenues and earnings. We will continue to explore portfolio adjustments in 2013. There are remaining opportunities to tighten the focus of our portfolio while improving its performance profile. There are equally significant opportunities for bolt-on transactions that can strengthen the execution of our businesses' strategic plans resulting in faster and more profitable growth.

That being said, I'll now turn the call over to Stephen Forsyth, our CFO, who will discuss certain aspects of our fourth quarter and full year 2012 financial performance. Stephen?

Stephen C. Forsyth

Thank you, Craig. Well, as usual, let me walk you through certain aspects of our income statement, taxes and cash flows for the full quarter and full year of 2012. Now let me start with talking about discontinued operations. As Craig noted, as a result of the agreement to sell the Antioxidants business, we have now applied discontinued operations accounting to this business. Prior periods have been conformed to this treatment.

In the earnings release, you have the fourth quarter and full year of 2012 reflecting this approach. Shortly, we will be making available to you the first 3 quarters of 2012, reflecting the same treatment so you have the comparable numbers to assist you in your modeling.

In the interim though, let me just, for those of you who want a perspective of how the business performed had we not applied discontinued operations treatment, give you a couple of summary numbers for the year -- for the fourth quarter and year of 2012. So in the fourth quarter, EBITDA, had the Antioxidants business been included in continuing operations, would have been $87 million versus $89 million a year ago. And for the year as a whole, we achieved $411 million of EBITDA versus $385 million in the year of 2011.

Now in terms of how discontinued operations is reflected in our financial statements, you'll see that the results of the Antioxidants business have been condensed into a single line on the income statement captioned "loss or earnings from discontinued operations net of tax." We estimated net assets of the business being sold, including the additional liabilities to be assumed by the buyer, have been condensed into 2 lines on the balance sheet, captioned "current assets of discontinued operations and current liabilities of discontinued operations." The year-over-year reduction in these balances relates to the impairment of certain assets of this business as we have previously disclosed.

Now when you apply discontinued operations treatment, only the cost to transfer for the business can be included in the income statement for discontinued operations. So functional and other costs that have traditionally been allocated to the business are actually retained within continuing operations and have been reclassified to the corporate expense line in our segment reporting. And that has been restated in the prior periods, so again, you have consistent reporting. Now as Craig has discussed, we have plans well in place to address those stranded costs subsident. After we sell the business, we will quickly eliminate them and have clean year-on-year comparisons.

So turning to the fourth quarter results. Sales for the fourth quarter were $622 million or $44 million higher than in 2011, predominantly driven by higher volumes in our Industrial Engineered Products and in Chemtura AgroSolutions segments and to a lesser extent, Consumer Products and Industrial Performance Products segments.

GAAP and managed basis gross profit for the fourth quarter was $152 million, a $2 million increase on a GAAP basis and a $1 million increase on a managed basis compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. Gross profit as a percentage of sales decreased to 24% as compared to 26% in the same quarter. Now gross profit, while benefiting from $10 million of higher sales volume and product mix changes, was offset by $13 million in unfavorable manufacturing variances as some of the product lines experienced lower volumes as we've discussed in the segment performance discussions.

GAAP operating income for the fourth quarter was $32 million compared to $53 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Now the primary reason of the decrease of $21 million was a $27 million gain reported last year on the sale of our 50% interest in Tetrabrom Technologies. And that was partly offset by a $2 million increase in gross profits, a $4 million reduction in lower SG&A costs. Now the 2011 SG&A costs contained an $8 million charge related to a U.K. pension benefits matter.

Included in the computation of operating income in the fourth quarter was $10 million of noncash stock-based compensation expense compared to $4 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. Now this quarter, the fourth quarter of 2012, we recognized a $6 million cumulative correction in noncash stock compensation expense. This is a nonrecurring item and as a result, you will see our stock compensation expense return to the levels that you've seen before as we go into 2013.

On a managed basis, operating income was $35 million as compared to $42 million in the same period last year. Now the managed basis adjustments here are $3 million expense related to the facility closures and severance costs. The actual decrease in operating income on a managed basis was driven by that cumulative correction of noncash stock-based compensation expense that we noted above.

Interest expense for the quarter at $17 million was slightly higher than it was in 2011, predominantly due to the exercising of the $125 million accordion feature on our term loan that we completed in the quarter. The loss on extinguishments of debt of $1 million was also related to that term loan increase.

Other income this quarter was $24 million compared to $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012. Now in there is an unusual item. We recognized a $21 million gain from the release of cumulative translation adjustments as we -- as part of a rationalization programs for our no longer required legal entities, completed the liquidation of certain of those entities and that resulted in this release of cumulative foreign exchange translation adjustments. Again, that will be a nonrecurring matter and something that we excluded in our managed basis computations.

Reorganization items, obviously, now paved down to a small amount. It was $1 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, and these are the residual costs associated with an organization process.

GAAP income tax expense in the fourth quarter was $10 million compared to $14 million in the fourth quarter of 2011. On a managed basis, we continue to apply the 28% managed basis tax rate as we discussed in more details in our earnings release. And obviously, by applying that rate, we provide investors with something that provide easier comparisons.

So lastly, let me turn to cash flows. So in 2012, we really started to show some of our abilities to generate free cash flow. And if you take the fourth quarter, net cash provided by operating activities was $107 million, up $16 million compared to the fourth quarter of 2011. If we look at the year as a whole, net cash provided by operating activities was $218 million compared to $182 million in 2011. When you deduct the cash used in investing activities to derive free cash flows, free cash flow for 2012 was $78 million compared to the $1 million that was generated in 2011.

During the fourth quarter, we did not repurchase any common stock into our previously announced share repurchase program. But during the course of the year, we obviously did complete a significant number of purchases.

Total debt as of the end of December 2012 was $876 million compared to $752 million a year ago. Now the cause of the increase, the $125 million increase in our term loan. However, cash and cash equivalents equally expanded to $363 million at the end of 2012 compared to $179 million at the end of 2011. So if you look at net debt, net debt at the end of 2012 was $513 million, $60 million less than it was at the end of 2011 when it was $573 million. And that's where you see the benefit of the free cash flow generation during the year.

So with those comments on cash flows, let me hand the call back to the operator so he may assemble a roster of questions and commence the Q&A portion of this call.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Mike Ritzenthaler from Piper Jaffray.

Michael J. Ritzenthaler - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

My first question is around the Petroleum Additives business. How temporary in nature do you view the sort of the weakness in Petroleum Additives? And what strategies are you looking at to improve the end-market diversification that you sort of addressed in your prepared comments?

Craig A. Rogerson

This is Craig, Mike. Thanks for the question. I mentioned in my remarks that we changed the leadership in that group, and Simon Medley came in, in October. You who were at the Investor Day saw him in December. He'd been spending really that fourth quarter and early in January trying to put together a strategy that will do just what you talked about, diversify our applications and really define what we're trying to do with that business. We've got significant new capacity coming on in synthetic lubricants in the High Viscosity PAO lines that I talked about in our Ankerweg, Netherlands facility to supply the European market, which is the largest market, and we were in very good position for that market with that capacity in the Netherlands, as well as one of the first startups in the new multi-purpose plan in China in Nantong that I mentioned is a grease plant. And again, that will be a product that will be critical to our Asia Pacific strategy in the Petroleum Additives business. So what we saw as the year kind of ended and what was a relatively difficult year and an especially difficult fourth quarter was customers were really being very, very conscious of their inventory levels. And so inventory levels as we come into 2013 are very low. So when things pick up and again, from our perspective, even with the existing customers and existing applications we have, there's no -- been no fundamental change, just that their demand was off and they were looking at their inventory levels. We should see a rebound as they see a rebound relatively quickly whenever that occurs. Now I'll be very cautious and say that we've seen versus the fourth quarter, some improvement in the order book as the first quarter has rolled out. And that could be just replenishing inventory, it could be nothing more than that. I would hope that it's an indication of something more, but it could be nothing more than that. But that and a relatively rigorous strategy around our sales model, pricing strategy, just the blocking and tackling, as well as looking at a strategy to diversify their product base, their application base, similar to the thing that was -- the process was successfully undertaken by Great Lakes Solutions after the recession of late '08 into '09 should yield some fruit. Clearly, that will be something that happens in the first or second quarter. Strategy takes longer than that to take hold. But I think just by the blocking and tackling the additional rigor, we may see some improvements earlier than that and clearly, that would be helpful as we look at overall the Industrial Performance segment.

Michael J. Ritzenthaler - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Sure. That makes sense. And then on the tin-based polyolefin catalysts being relatively weak in the quarter, I guess some -- your outlook in the long term sounded still pretty bullish but maybe a little bit tempered here in the near term. Is there a part of the market that Chemtura plays? Maybe you could help us understand about why -- what brought about that more cautious outlook versus your peers, that have been a little bit more positive about that particular end market?

Craig A. Rogerson

Well, I think the overall -- the polyolefin market is -- will be a successful in the traditional Ziegler-Natta catalyst area as the markets -- right, if polyolefins do well, we'll do well. We're pretty well represented in the different geographies, and so we will follow that. Now where I am more optimistic is, as I mentioned, we expand our MAO capacity, really came online and ramped up through the second half of last year. So we're in a better position as we go into 2013 to supply MAO for single-site catalyst applications, the more specialized applications. And that was very tight. We needed the additional -- we need the additional capacity. We're basically sold out of that product in that application. So that should give us some opportunity to see significant improvement in organometallics just because the right capacity, the right additional capacity in specific products like MAO. So again, in the basic Ziegler-Natta catalysts, where we saw these tin-based catalysts, the -- we're dependent on the market. We think that we've got a better position from a competitive structural position in MAO and a significant amount of new capacity on line to support that in 2013.

Operator

Our next question comes from Steve Schwartz from First Analysis.

Steven Schwartz - First Analysis Securities Corporation, Research Division

If I could just build off a question that Mike asked, in the organotin products, I think in the release you noted it was related to auto and glass. And I'm wondering why there wasn't a stronger market there as a result of what's going on in the U.S.

Stephen C. Forsyth

Well, maybe let me start the response actually to talk about specific products. So the tin-based organometallics are used as the catalysts in curing paints on automobiles, so in those high-speed assembly lines, where they can paint and cure an auto body in 10 minutes, it's done because of these highly reactive tin-based catalysts. And I think reflecting the tone of the auto industry in general, you saw some lower sales of those products in the second half of the year. You also use those same tin catalysts around the etching of glass. So for instance, buildings that have that bluish-glass tinge, that's created by the use of certain catalysts that help create that surface effect. And again, just, I think, reflecting the broader construction industry, you've seen softer sales in 2012 around those. With respect to the catalyst, the Ziegler-Natta catalyst going to polyolefins, I think you saw some destocking in the fourth quarter and that remains a great industry. Ziegler-Natta catalysts are the way in which most of the polyolefins are produced in the world today. And we see it as an attractive segment, it's just it's never going to be a high-growth segment as it's a very mature industry. The potential for MAO-type technologies to go beyond specialties and actually move into polyolefin production remains as a possible opportunity, but customer usage hasn't yet evolved to that step. So you're seeing it reflected in people's demands for catalysts, really some of these broader economic trends, but it's not something that we view as a significant headwind going forward. It's just something that will influence performance in the second half of 2012.

Steven Schwartz - First Analysis Securities Corporation, Research Division

So it sounds like from a regional basis then, Europe and Asia are probably the largest drivers of the weakness or cause of the weakness?

Stephen C. Forsyth

Certainly they are significant contributors. There's also in places U.S. weakness, too, but Europe and Asia are the larger components of the weaknesses around that tin-based chemistry, the more traditional chemistry. Now clearly, where we're looking for our growth going forward are all these new chemistries that organometallics are involved in. So in catalysis terms, it's the MAOs, the metallocenes, but obviously, we have the chemical vapor deposition agents that are filing applications and things such as high-brightness LEDs. Same technology works in thin-film solar. The pharmaceutical reagents, the opportunities for other electronic applications, the use of special catalysts used in things like specialty rubbers. These are the areas that will really help to propel this business's growth over the coming years.

Steven Schwartz - First Analysis Securities Corporation, Research Division

Okay. And just as my follow-up, Craig, when you referenced a portfolio transformation and talking about the portfolio getting smaller before it gets bigger, are you speaking beyond the AOUV divestiture, or is that pretty much in -- what's in your thinking there?

Craig A. Rogerson

Could be.

Steven Schwartz - First Analysis Securities Corporation, Research Division

Well, it's not a lot of color but, okay.

Craig A. Rogerson

Clearly, we don't or I don't make comments on something that we haven't announced, and I'll continue to follow that policy. But as I mentioned in the comments, we're not done either on -- from an overall management of this portfolio. That could include divestiture in and/or acquisitions as we go forward in 2013 beyond what we've already announced with AOUV and Solaris.

Operator

Our next question comes from Dmitry Silversteyn from Longbow Research.

Dmitry Silversteyn - Longbow Research LLC

A couple of questions, if I may. As you sort of finished the year and begin 2013, can you talk about the pricing environment in your various businesses, particularly the industrial businesses and what your expectations are for 2013, both with respect to your ability to price products or maintain pricing and what you expect from your raw material input costs?

Craig A. Rogerson

Well, generally, we expect to be able to pass through, as we have over the last couple of years indicating we can do and demonstrated we can do, any raw material input increases. And we still see some increase in the benzene chain in parts of the businesses, in urethanes and/or in Petroleum Additives, and we have raised prices there to reflect that. Clearly, in a business like Great Lakes Solutions where we've had a lot of success raising price due to offering increased value and continue to push that as well with the new products, the Emerald line of products have higher performance characteristics. And so from our perspective, should have and are getting better pricing. Now there's current -- because of the low or the soft demand on electronics in Asia Pacific, some pressure on bromine and brominated products pricing in Asia specifically, but we think that, that will kind of run through as we get into the spring and improve -- the situation will improve. And we really haven't seen that affect the overall market outside of electronics in Asia. So we've had relatively stable pricing. And again, the new products will come out at, because of higher value, higher prices. And that continues to be the policy as we go forward. So again, our intention is to continue to have positive price over raw metrics. And when we see in some areas, we do see raw materials prices decline, try to do the best we can to hold on to that pricing by selling value, not just pass-through of raw material changes.

Dmitry Silversteyn - Longbow Research LLC

Got it. Got it. But overall, would you say that despite the sort of the end-of-the-year weakness and de-stocking by customers, your pricing environment and your ability to get price and value really haven't changed?

Craig A. Rogerson

Yes, I'd say that's right. Pricing wasn't the issue, it was volume.

Dmitry Silversteyn - Longbow Research LLC

Got it. Okay. And as you look at removing the stranded costs from the Antioxidant UV sale, you talk about doing it as quickly as you can. But realistically, I mean, is it all going to be done in 2013? Is it going to be first half, second half? And then broadly speaking, you...

Craig A. Rogerson

It'll all be done in 2013, and the plan says that we will eliminate the stranded costs that we would have -- that we would have incurred in the year. So it's not just the run rate, the cost will be out that we incurred during the year.

Dmitry Silversteyn - Longbow Research LLC

Got it. And the sort of the bigger restructuring program that you mentioned, I think it was $35 million to $45 million, that's inclusive of these stranded costs, I'm assuming. And where would the rest of that restructuring costs savings come from? Was it just sort of a corporate line? Or is there specific business units that are...

Craig A. Rogerson

It's inclusive of the stranded costs elimination program that's mostly G&A, and it also include some plant restructuring.

Dmitry Silversteyn - Longbow Research LLC

Excellent, okay. And then final question just from a bookkeeping point of view, what's your tax rate assumption for 2013 given that there's a lot of volatility there now?

Stephen C. Forsyth

Well, we haven't formally set the 2013 managed basis tax rates, but we'd anticipate it being approximately the same as the 28% that we've used in the last 2 years. We've monitored changes in regional income and tax rate, but I don't see a lot of change in 2013 but -- so at this point, I'd leave you at the 28%.

Operator

Our next question comes from Edward Yang from Oppenheimer.

Edward H. Yang - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Could you provide some additional color on the stock compensation catch-up? Was that just the expense that was under accrued and you had to catch up for the year, or how is that working out?

Stephen C. Forsyth

At the end of the day, this was an error, that the computation that had been done is to the rate at which you expense the cost. The stock compensation hasn't been properly calendarized, and we took a cumulative correction to get it right.

Edward H. Yang - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

And was that just for the year or...

Stephen C. Forsyth

This was 2010 until the fourth quarter of 2012. And now it's done. The computation will be correct going forward and obviously, will run at a more normalized rate.

Edward H. Yang - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Got you. Got you. And the -- some of the lower margin mix that you saw in Petroleum Additives, is that something that you expect to see going forward? Or was that just more temporary in order to offset some of the lower volumes?

Craig A. Rogerson

Well, I'd like to think that, that -- we may keep that volume but it would be incremental, right, to maximize capacity utilization. That can't be -- instead of our base products that have the higher margin, that's not going to work long term. So I would say it's temporary from an impact that you saw in our overall margin, but that business may continue. The overall mix should improve, will improve, when we start up the capacity at the High Viscosity PAO in the Netherlands. And this high-end grease product in Nantong. So those should help the overall margins of the business as we go forward. But -- and what we were trying to do -- when you saw the manufacturing variance impact in the quarter, what we were trying to do in the fourth quarter was improve the capacity utilization. And with that, we ended up getting into some areas that are lower margin than we typically play in.

Edward H. Yang - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Okay. And, Craig, you're talking about capacity utilization. And you have brought on some capacity. The 2013 CapEx outlook, it's up year-over-year, and it's well above G&A. Your G&A is around $120 million, $130 million. You're expecting to spend about $160 million to $175 million in CapEx. Where are you spending that money? And where are you adding capacity?

Craig A. Rogerson

Yes, the -- we've talked about -- there's really 2 major chunks to our CapEx. One is maintenance and that's subsidence capital what some people would call it. That's on a continued ops basis, so x AOUV, probably $60 million to $65 million a year, so the rest of that is capacity expansion. The big projects that consume most of that money in 2013 are the PAO plant in the Netherlands, and the biggest single one is the plant in Nantong, China. So those are the 2 big chunks of money in the, let's say, $100 million of expanding capacity projects. There's also money in there for DayStar, our joint venture that's targeted selling very high-end ultrapure organometallics into things LED lighting and display. That's probably the third biggest project, specific project in that mix and then continuation of spend in El Dorado on isotainer so we can ship bromine around the world, especially with the Solaris acquisition, we'll have more bromine that we need to ship around and continuing to expand our overall fleet of those very specific containers to be able to supply this hazardous material around the world. So those are kind of the big spends, but the big that are out of the ordinary ones are -- we have 2 big projects going on at the same time, which is unusual for us. One will be in Petroleum Additives in the Netherlands for the High Viscosity synthetic lubricant and the other being the Nantong facility.

Edward H. Yang - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Okay. And finally, just with regards to your guidance, Craig, you mentioned that you expect year-over-year improvement regardless of the economy. And certainly in 2012, you were able to grow operating income about 20% and earnings 30%, but your volumes were down about 1% or so. So in terms of quantifying the magnitude of improvement that you expect to see in 2013, is that type of performance still possible, flattish volumes but at least double-digits year-over-year improvement? Maybe provide some color there?

Craig A. Rogerson

Yes. But I think that there's a couple of things. With the change in the portfolio, x AOUV, our overall growth rate should improve. The businesses that we're focusing on in those markets that we're focusing on, we're focusing on because they have higher growth rates, and we see that and expect that. That's we're investing the capital. So with the products that are coming on, the new capacity coming on, we see opportunities to grow. It'll be, from my perspective, a typical year right now. It'll be easier comp in the second half, first of all, because the second half of 2012 was not as strong as the first half; and secondly, because we'll have that new capacity on stream, coming on stream in the second half of the year. And it's probably, I hope, but there are some indications we're seeing that from an over economic perspective, especially in Asia, that we would expect the second half of the year to be stronger. So I think the first half comps will be more difficult. Relative to the magnitude, it kind of depends on a lot of these things we control. We'll get the cost out, we'll do that. We'll introduce these new products, we'll do that. We'll manage pricing as we have in the past, I mentioned when I talked to -- when Dmitry asked the question. But how volume plays out will be something that isn't totally in our control. And how fast we can really administer the new strategy in Petroleum Additives, I think, in ag will be strong. We've got something -- we've got these new product, country application combinations pretty well in place as we go into the season in 2013. And as was mentioned, we kind of know what consumer will look like, the upside is, how successful these new product introductions will be. So again, that's the second, third quarter primarily impact. But those are the kind of uncertainties that are still out there relative to how much better it'll be than 2012. But to the point I made, we expect the things we can control that drive improvements sequentially over prior year, and that's our objective.

Operator

Our next question comes from Ivan Marcuse from KeyBanc Capital Markets.

Ivan M. Marcuse - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

In your -- just a quick question. I think you said it, but I didn't hear it. In your EBITDA, you said it was $87 million if you included AO. Would that have included or excluded the compensation expense over the $6 million?

Stephen C. Forsyth

We do not include stock-compensation expense in EBITDA. That is a noncash expense.

Ivan M. Marcuse - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

I got you, all right, great. And then how much were the stranded costs in the quarter?

Stephen C. Forsyth

The stranded costs in the quarter, when you're looking on the continuing operations reporting, were only $1 million or $2 million. If you look at the full year of 2012, there's $13 million of stranded costs in those numbers. And then add 0.5 point to our margins if you -- pro forma out those stranded costs.

Ivan M. Marcuse - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then you mentioned startup costs in the fourth quarter. Do you -- how much were those?

Craig A. Rogerson

There were manufacturing variances in the fourth quarter. There weren't really startup costs in the fourth quarter. They were -- early in the year we had some startup costs in Great Lakes, but not in the fourth quarter.

Stephen C. Forsyth

Yes. These are the sort of absorption variances because some of the product lines waved up a little volume, so obviously, it takes something like electronics, which is running significantly down to its total capacity. You therefore are experiencing absorption variances around those production lines, and the upside on some of the other stuff that we sold haven't been self efficient to offset it. So if you look at -- we post that deck to our website that shows you by segment and breaks out those components in the tabular form, and you can sort of see those absorption variances. But for the industrial businesses, that was the most significant if you -- year-on-year change in that performance.

Ivan M. Marcuse - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then when you look out to 2013, how do you see corporate costs all-in coming in that?

Stephen C. Forsyth

Well, it will trend down by the elimination of the stranded costs, so that $13 million in effect is embedded in 2012 in the new presentation, that will disappear over the course of 2013.

Ivan M. Marcuse - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then in your -- you've mentioned in your Consumer business cost savings and it performed pretty well in this quarter. So it typically loses money in the first quarter. Do you think these costs are enough to get you to a sort of breakeven level? Or do you expect it sort of to be the normal lose a couple million dollars?

Craig A. Rogerson

I hope it doesn't lose money.

Ivan M. Marcuse - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Got you. What's your -- is your hope equal to your expectation?

Craig A. Rogerson

Yes, my hope is equal to my expectation.

Ivan M. Marcuse - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Great. And then, is your pension expense -- does that include the AO once its closed to have the -- you have $90 million going out of pension, will that lower your pension expense? Or is that your $9 million including that? And then, are you assuming any sort of debt paydown in your interest expense with the cash that you're also going to get from AO?

Stephen C. Forsyth

Maybe I should tackle those questions.

Craig A. Rogerson

Yes.

Stephen C. Forsyth

So, yes, that cash contribution rate will be affected once we transfer those liabilities. Now we are embarked in a program where we want over time to work down that pension liability. So there's times when we are contributing more than we are required to contribute, and we have those decisions as to how much we contribute in 2013 to make. But fundamentally, the minimum contributions will come down if the liability comes down. And so the transfer of those liabilities will result in lower required cash contributions. In terms of pension expense itself going through the P&L, because all our plans are frozen, our expense is pretty modest. And again, it will be incrementally lower, but it's not very big in the first place. So it's not going to be a big source of incremental earnings.

Ivan M. Marcuse - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Okay. And debt paydowns?

Stephen C. Forsyth

Yes, we will anticipate making some debt paydowns from the proceeds. We also anticipate losing some of that cash to reinvest in our business.

Operator

Our next question comes from Joe Stauff from Susquehanna.

Joseph Stauff - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Can you just remind me the Nantong and the Netherlands plants, when do they come online?

Craig A. Rogerson

The Netherlands plant will come online in the second half of the year, and then there'll be qualification because right now, a lot of that product is being supplied out of North America. So it'll start to impact the fourth quarter, but it'll be a bigger deal full year 2014. The Nantong plant, similarly, will be in the second half, and the first product to come out will be the grease product from Petroleum Additives in the third quarter. And then as the year -- into the fourth quarter is when the urethanes production will begin.

Joseph Stauff - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Okay. On the Solaris acquisition, have you yet received approval from the regulators there?

Craig A. Rogerson

There's a couple of -- we've gotten some, and there's a whole bunch we have to get. This is one of these you hand carry to different offices in the compound there in Ahmedabad, which is in the State of Gujarat, which is where we are there. I was there. We've got -- Anne Noonan is there this week, trying to do that. There's a couple of issues that we have to get resolved. Doesn't seem like there's any issue and we're getting a lot of cooperation from Avantha, who own Solaris, in walking these through. But we have to get some permits reassigned to us, land permits reassigned to us. More importantly, because it's critical to us for the expansion of that -- of the bromine there relative to condensation funds than anything else. But it's critical to getting this thing closed. And so they're, again, there this week. They have meetings every Wednesday, and we got to get on the docket. If we got on the docket, then we've got to walk these things through. So every week is going to be -- this week or next week, right, so that's what she's -- she's there with our team this week trying to walk that through. So I'll know more tomorrow. But everything seems to be okay, it's just -- it's government approvals and it takes a little bit of time. Similarly, that's the thing that's pacing the item on getting the closure of the AOUV business with SK is we've got ventures in places like Saudi that we have to get transfer agreements. And no issues and we're getting a lot of cooperation, but we have to get that done. And their timetable's not the same as mine all the time apparently. So they are causing us a little bit of -- causing us -- maybe causing me a little bit of distress. But it's again nothing negative, it's just we got to get it done.

John E. Roberts - The Buckingham Research Group Incorporated

Fair enough, makes sense. And then on the sale of Antioxidants and part of that consideration is the reduction of pension environmental. The unfunded pension liability in OPEB was $393 million, at least on your balance sheet at the end of the year. What does that take it down? Take it down 80-or-so pro forma for that transaction?

Stephen C. Forsyth

On the balance sheet, it's already net of that reduction. With the balance sheet, and it's the same, I think, for most companies, so you remeasure your pension liabilities at the end of each year. And so that 50, 70 basis points reduction in discount rates pushed up the liability. The fact that our investments performed better than benchmarks offset most of that. And then you've got the net transfer of that liability to liabilities held for sale in the balance sheet. So that $390 million number is where we we'll be post the transaction.

Joseph Stauff - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Okay, makes sense. And then I know there are a lot of questions here, and I apologize. But of the restructuring program largely used to remove some of the stranded costs, as you suggested, $13 million last year. When that's fully implemented, how much total costs, including the stranded costs, do you think you could take out of the -- out of your cost structure?

Stephen C. Forsyth

Obviously, we're targeting to do more than just the stranded costs. But I think the way I'd leave it in the context of 2013 is we're neutralizing of divesting the business. And then by '14, we should get a bit more benefits from the actions we're taking.

Operator

Our next question comes from Roger Spitz from Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Roger N. Spitz - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

I wonder on your Antioxidant, I know you don't to do this, but it would help with our modeling if you could provide the sales and EBITDA for the first 3 quarters pro forma for the reclassification into discontinuing operations.

Stephen C. Forsyth

Yes, we will be filing that in the next few days so that everybody has that comparable information. So you -- yes, you can have all the comparative quarters, and I realize everybody needs that now to readjust their models.

Roger N. Spitz - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Great. And in Consumer Products, do you expect -- you have this Early Buy program, do you expect that basically moves some volumes from Q1 '13 into Q4 '12, or how should we think about that?

Craig A. Rogerson

Well, the Early Buy program is a program that's been going on for a number of years, so it was no different in 2012, '13 than prior. So looking at prior fourth quarter comparables or first quarter comparables across years should be fair. And there was nothing different in 2012 fourth quarter to 2013 and in prior years.

Alexia S. Quadrani - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Okay. I brought up the question only because it seemed to be called out.

Craig A. Rogerson

Yes. There is some of that. I mean that's a program that's been going on in the industry, not just with us, for quite a number of years.

Roger N. Spitz - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Okay. And lastly, is there any information on sales or EBITDA on the Solaris ChemTech that you can provide?

Stephen C. Forsyth

We haven't provided those disclosures. We talked about -- at the time that we did this transaction, this is a transaction that's much more about the synergies we can develop. You've had a business that its focus has just been supplying bottled bromine to Indian customers, predominantly agrochemical and pharmaceutical customers. So very much an in-India business model. The advantage for Chemtura acquiring that business is by giving them the benefit of our technology, we can help improve the output significantly from the assets they already have, and that both reduces the unit costs and gives us more bromine. Most of the bromine, in effect, incremental bromine they produce, we will consume. So it's really a decision about where we invest. We could have drilled more wells in South Arkansas. We view this as a much more cost-effective and timely strategy to source our bromine from India. So from a revenue perspective, you're not going to sort of see it independently. You're going to see it as part of our internal cost buildup for the bromine we need to support the continued growth in things like mercury control, continued growth in insulation foams. And then when electronics comes back, there's going to be a big surge in bromine need to service those recovered electronics sales, and it will be part of the mix to do that. And so you'll see the revenue benefits, in effect, from Solaris reflected in the fact that we can sustain the growth that we'll see across the Great Lakes Solutions business. From an earnings perspective, in 2013, it's going to be year of consolidation and integration, so we're not expecting it to be accretive in 2013, but it should start to be meaningfully accretive in 2014 and beyond.

Operator

Our next question comes from Bill Hoffman from RBC Capital Markets.

Bill Hoffman - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Just a question. The cost of absorption [ph] obviously in the fourth quarter had a big impact on the weakness of volumes. And I just wondered, obviously, there were some destocking going on. And I just wonder if you can give us a little color on how the first quarter '13 looks to be shaping up. Do you recover half of that or just some kind of quantification on that. And I've got a follow-up after that.

Craig A. Rogerson

Well, I think it's hard to determine what's causing changes one way or another across the businesses. I'd say that as we sit here right now, we feel on a year-over-year comparison, as we mentioned, that the nonindustrials will do okay, right? We'll see some improvements, and it's -- there is some inventory in certain regions and certain products in the ag business that absent that, we could have even have done probably better in the first quarter, but I still think we'll be in good shape in the first quarter versus prior year's first quarter in both those businesses. Across the industrials, I mentioned, I don't think there's much inventory. There was some significant destocking in Petroleum Additives, so we may see some of that recovery. I mentioned that it looked early, early in the quarter, a little bit better than the fourth quarter. And that may be due to the inventory restocking. We'll see over time if it falls back off, then we'll know that's what it was. If it doesn't, maybe actually there is a little bit of a rebound in some of the markets we serve. In the Industrial Engineered side, whether it's OMS or the Great Lakes business, again, electronics is not much inventory in the system. That's been the case since the downturn, and then so the view is that the recovery, when it happens, will grow relatively quick and demanding on us. We don't have that built in. And while we mentioned that we saw a little sequential improvement in the fourth quarter in electronics, it was certainly not anything to get excited about, just a little bit of a change in the trend. So you're right, there was destocking going on, whether or not there is stocking, restocking going on right now, it's difficult to say. But as I started with my comments, right now, we think that the general economic conditions would indicate that absent that, we have similar performance in the first quarter as we did from a buying perspective in the fourth quarter, and we'll see. We'll see whether or not that what we've seen early on in the quarter, it was a little bit better than we anticipated performances due to that restocking of assets. We'll see how it goes as the quarter progresses.

Bill Hoffman - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

That's helpful. And then just as a follow-up, as you look forward when you're bringing on this -- the PAO capacity over in the Netherlands toward the second half of the year, are you in a process right now of sort of preselling that capacity? I know you said some of the product will be shifted out of manufacturing in the U.S. But I just wondered if you could just help us a little bit understand sort of how that rolls into your overall sales next.

Craig A. Rogerson

Well, a lot of that product has been produced in North America in our Elmira, Canada facility. And so my comment was while that new capacity starts, it won't be immediately transferable because there are some qualifications that will have to occur. And it's based on running on our different equipment, so we can't really prequalify it. What it does provide is this long-term competitive advantage being locally supplied, locally meaning in Europe, where the big market is. I mean, especially in the automotive market with a lot of the European luxury cars using synthetic lubricants. This product being produced there will give us, and we'll be the first to produce there, a strong position as we grow that business going forward. But traditionally and currently, we're supplying that out of North America.

Bill Hoffman - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

So I mean, given current market conditions in the European auto sector, does that sort of slow the rollout of -- or the sort of buildup of sales out of that facility, you think?

Craig A. Rogerson

I don't think it does anything relative to the facility in the Netherlands. The challenge for the Petroleum Additives team is to make sure through diversification, these products go into other industrial applications as well. We do -- we tend to make sure that current assets, like the one I mentioned in North America, remains utilized. So the new facility would show us improved cost structure and a completely improved sourcing line and be closer to the customers will give us an advantage, but we do need to make sure that our current assets continue to be fully utilized. So that's the challenge, and that's really what the group has been challenged to do.

Bill Hoffman - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

And if I may, just one question on ag solutions. A lot of new products roll out this year on top of the success last year. Any comments on sort of how things are starting off the year, this year?

Craig A. Rogerson

Yes, I think that will -- as we start this year, I think that we should have a year where we -- a quarter where we continue the positive trend of year-over-year improvement, so this quarter should be better than the first quarter of last year.

Operator

There are no further questions at this time. Presenters, I turn the call back to you.

Craig A. Rogerson

Thank you, Justin, and thank you, everyone, for participating and joining us in today's earnings call. We look forward to presenting our first quarter 2013 results to you in May. Again, thank you for participating, and have a nice day. Justin, you may close out the call. Thanks, again.

Operator

Thank you very much. This concludes today's conference call. You may now disconnect.

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