Olin Corp.'s Earnings Difficult To Estimate - Even for Management

| About: Olin Corporation (OLN)

Olin Corporation (NYSE:OLN) reported earnings last night, and the report was a doozy.

Joseph D. Rupp, Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer said, “I am pleased to report that our fourth quarter net income of $0.37 per diluted share exceeded our guidance of $0.25 per diluted share due primarily to better than expected results in our Metals and Winchester businesses, an inventory liquidation gain generated by operations, and a lower than expected restructuring charge. In Metals, weaker volumes were more than offset by improved pricing and lower costs. Winchester experienced stronger than expected sale volumes. Our Chlor Alkali business experienced normal seasonal weakness. Shipment volumes and pricing in Chlor Alkali both declined from the third quarter and pricing was weaker than the fourth quarter of 2005.”

However, while beating earnings by 50% in the fourth quarter, the company expects they will more than give it back in the first:

Earnings in the first quarter of 2007 are projected to be in the $0.25 per diluted share range. This forecast reflects softness in both the Chlor Alkali and Metals businesses. In Chlor Alkali, we expect both shipment volumes and pricing to be lower than the first quarter of 2006. In the Metals business, we expect lower volumes to be offset by higher pricing. Winchester results are expected to improve year-over-year due to improved pricing. Year-over-year pension expense is expected to decline approximately $1.0 million.

Given that first quarter consensus estimates were at $0.44, that looks to be quite a miss. You’ve got to hand it to Olin, though - when they do something, they do it big.

OLN 1-yr chart:

OLN 1-yr chart