Westlake Chemical: Bullish Picture Remains Intact
Tide Is Going Out, But Westlake Is Wearing Shorts
Darspal S Mann • 14 Comments
Darspal S Mann • 14 Comments
Yesterday, 3:23 PM
- The Texas Railroad Commission, which has the power to set pipeline rates, rules that Westlake Chemical (WLK -2.3%) cannot charge a market-driven rate for use of its Texas pipeline, ending a three-year dispute that has been closely watched by pipeline, chemical and oil industry leaders, FuelFix.com reports.
- Eastman Chemical (EMN +0.6%) filed a complaint with the commission after WLK nearly doubled its rate in 2013 to $3.50 per 100 lbs. from $1.90, and the commission today set a rate of $2.45 per 100 lbs.
- The dispute centers on the cost of shipping ethylene 200 miles through WLK’s pipeline from Longview, Tex., to Mont Belvieu, near the Houston Ship Channel.
Tue, Aug. 23, 11:39 AM
- Westlake Chemical (WLK +3.1%) is upgraded to Outperform from Sector Perform with a $59 price target, raised from $47, at RBC, which expects the stock will continue to march higher ahead of the pending $2.4B acquisition of vinyl maker Axiall.
- RBC believes the AXLL deal creates a new way to play chlor-alkali and that management will take full advantage of synergies the deal presents.
- The firm also notes WLK's financial prudence and strong balance sheet, and that while rising polyethylene prices are a near-term positive for the company, WLK is "the way to play" for investors who anticipate lower-for-longer ethane prices.
Fri, Jun. 10, 9:44 AM
- Westlake Chemical (WLK +2.3%) agrees to acquire Axiall (AXLL +25.7%) for $33/share, a 28% premium to yesterday's closing price, representing an enterprise value of ~$3.8B including debt.
- The combined company will be the third-largest chlor-alkali producer and the second-largest PVC producer in North America, with expected combined pro forma revenues of $7.6B and EBITDA of $1.5B for the 12 months ended Q1 2016.
- WLK expects the transaction to be accretive to its earnings in the first year following the close and expects ~$100M in annualized cost synergies.
- AXLL had rejected two earlier offers from WLK, including a sweetened bid in early April of $23.35/share in cash and stock, and South Korea’s Lotte Chemical said earlier this week that it had made a bid.
Tue, Jun. 7, 7:59 AM
- Axiall (NYSE:AXLL) +6.2% premarket after South Korea's Lotte Chemical says it has submitted a takeover bid for the U.S. chemicals company; the terms of the bid are not known.
- The move sets up Lotte as a potential white knight for AXLL, which is trying to fight off a takeover attempt by Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK); AXLL this year has rejected two unsolicited bids from WLK, which has launched a proxy fight and is urging approval of its slate of candidates to replace AXLL's board at the June 17 annual shareholder meeting.
- Lotte formed a venture with AXLL last year to build a plant for making ethylene in the U.S. with production to start in 2018.
Mon, May 23, 12:59 PM
- Axiall (AXLL +2.9%) is higher after expressing an openness to consider a revised takeover offer from Westlake Chemical (WLK -0.1%).
- WLK says it will either submit a new offer or reaffirm its previous $1.6B bid at $23.35/share after AXLL CFO Gregory Thompson asked for the company to submit a new offer by June 3, in advance of AXLL’s June 17 shareholders meeting.
- WLK says it will continue to proceed with its current proxy contest to replace AXLL's board.
- Now read Westlake will work for longs
Mon, Apr. 25, 3:48 PM
- Westlake Chemical (WLK -1.8%) nominates nine candidates to replace Axiall's (AXLL -1.4%) board, saying the current board’s rejection of its improved takeover offer three weeks ago is not in the best interests of shareholders.
- WLK says AXLL's "track record of value destruction and underperformance, repeated failed attempts to deliver on expectations, and in-process initiatives" are unlikely to generate value creation "anywhere near" that of its proposal.
- WLK also says AXLL has not yet set a date for its annual meeting and tha the company may seek to delay the meeting and an opportunity for AXLL shareholders to voice their concerns in a formal manner.
- Now read Axiall investors need to consider Westlake Chemical's interest
Fri, Apr. 22, 5:39 PM
Thu, Mar. 10, 3:19 PM
- Axiall (AXLL +2%) is upgraded to Outperform from Market Perform with a $25 price target, up from $17, at Cowen, which expects Westlake Chemical (WLK +1.5%) will raise its takeover bid to at least $25 or that AXLL's actions will enhance a combination at a later date.
- Cowen also thinks AXLL, excluding its building products business, could bring additional bidder interest due to its "pure play status.”
- The firm believes AXLL’s FY 2017 EPS are set to increase by $0.54 in case of a $25/share offer and by $0.45 in case of a $30/share offer, assuming annual synergies of $60M.
Fri, Jan. 29, 8:31 AM
- Axiall (NYSE:AXLL) +73.4% premarket after Westlake Chemical (NYSE:WLK) announces it offered to acquire the company in a cash and stock deal valued at $2.9B, including the assumption of ~$1.5B of debt.
- WLK says its proposal was "summarily rejected" by AXLL's board.
- WLK says it offered $20.00/share, a 108% premium to AXLL's closing price of $9.60 on Jan. 22, the last trading day before WLK made its proposal; the deal comprised of $11/share in cash and 0.1967 of a WLK share, which represented a value of $9 based on WLK's Jan. 22 closing price.
Fri, Jan. 8, 3:38 PM
- Westlake Chemical (WLK -2.1%) says it plans to expand its petrochemical plant in Calvert City, Ky., and will launch a growth project in Lake Charles, La., both of which will increase the company's capacity to produce ethylene.
- WLK says it will add 70M lbs./year of ethylene production at the Calvert City plant, and expects the expansion to be completed by mid-2017; the cost of the project is not revealed.
- In a larger expansion, WLK plans to begin construction during Q2 on a 250M-lb. ethylene expansion at its Petro 1 plant in Lake Charles as part of a $350M project.
Nov. 3, 2015, 2:31 PM
- Westlake Chemical (WLK +4.2%) posts solid gains after recording better than expected Q3 earnings despite weakening worldwide product demand.
- WLK’s Q3 net sales fell slightly Y/Y to $1.19B from $1.25B, hurt by reduced sales prices and lower sales volumes for most of its major products; WLK says it also had several plant outages for maintenance during the quarter but enjoyed stronger production rates at Louisiana and Kentucky plants.
- WLK says Q3 operating income in the olefins segment fell to $196.7M from $259.3M in the year-ago quarter, while operating income at the vinyls segment rose to $67.8M from $59.4M a year ago.
- In today's earnings conference call, CFO Steve Bender said WLK is on track to add 250M lbs./year of ethylene production capacity by the end of June as part of a ~$350M expansion project at its Lake Charles, La., complex.
Oct. 27, 2015, 10:19 AM
- Westlake Chemical (WLK -3.6%) is downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $58 price target, down from $68, at UBS, which thinks upside September quarter results at Celanese (CE -0.5%), Dow Chemical (DOW +0.1%) and LyondellBasell (LYB -0.8%) may have temporarily driven recent strength in the sector.
- As the market becomes more balanced, UBS believes the potential for lower polyethylene prices is not yet fully priced in, and it sees downside risks to WLK's earnings and stock price.
Sep. 24, 2015, 5:37 PM
Sep. 21, 2015, 12:42 PM
- Petrochemical stocks shoot higher after a senior IRS official says the companies may be eligible for tax-exempt status, as the agency is reconsidering an earlier proposal that would have prevented the companies from converting into MLPs.
- A favorable IRS ruling for Westlake Chemical (WLK +5.2%) in 2012 fueled speculation that the MLP structure long popular among pipeline operators could be utilized by chemical makers, but the IRS in May proposed new rules that said petrochemical production would not qualify for MLP status unless it was part of a larger refining operation.
- WLK and Westlake Chemical Partners (WLKP +8.4%) are surging today; also rising are peers including Eastman Chemical (EMN +2.2%), Dow Chemical (DOW +1.5%), LyondellBasel(LYB +1.2%) and PolyOne (POL +1.8%), which each have chemical businesses that could be candidates for an MLP.
May 6, 2015, 11:18 AM
- The big drop this morning in Axiall (AXLL -9.4%) is attributed to comments on the company's conference call discussing yesterday's IRS ruling on publicly traded partnerships.
- AXLL says it is reviewing the IRS ruling but does not yet have an update on its private-letter ruling or the ultimate outcome of the rule-making process (Briefing.com).
- Yesterday, the IRS proposed new rules that would bar chemical manufacturers from forming MLPs; Westlake Chemical Partners (WLKP -14.2%) also is slammed for a second straight day, but WLK +2.4%.
Mar. 23, 2015, 12:50 PM
- Olin (OLN -3.8%) is downgraded to Sell from Neutral with a $25 price target at UBS, which says the sum of the parts argument for OLN following the Vista Outdoor spin is less compelling the higher the stock moves, and the firm believes channel inventory declines have not bottomed yet.
- While OLN made positive comments about the potential for a chlorine/caustic recovery on its Q4 earnings call, the sentiment was not echoed by competitors Axiall (AXLL -1.2%) and Westlake (WLK +0.5%), and Dow Chemical (DOW +0.1%) is selling its operations partly because of depressed results.
- UBS views chlor-alkali as a shale gas advantaged business, where supply has increased in recent years, plus the natural gas advantage has declined with the fall in oil prices.
Westlake Chemical Corp. manufactures and markets petrochemicals, polymers and fabricated building products. It operates its business through two segments: Olefins and Vinyls. The Olefins segment manufactures and markets ethylene, polyethylene, styrene and associated co-products. The Vinyls... More
Sector: Basic Materials
Industry: Specialty Chemicals
Country: United States