John Keeley Comments on Chemtury (CEM)
Chemtura (CEM), a maker of specialty chemicals, emerged from bankruptcy in late 2010, and while the stock has not made a material move since our purchase, we continue to believe in the company's long-term prospects. Rising raw materials costs, increasing litigation-related expenses, a high degree of leverage, and the global economic slow-down combined to drive Chemtura into bankruptcy in March 2009. It emerged with a lower debt burden, a slightly better product portfolio, and some resolution to its environmental and litigation liabilities. The company still suffers from below average profitability due to some lag in raising prices to offset recent increases in raw materials costs. As the price increases roll in, we expect earnings to recover. Even after this, we believe Chemtura has a meaningful opportunity to improve margins as its profitability is well below peers in similar businesses.