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The Best EV Stock You Haven't Considered

photo of albemarle logo on outdoor sign

Key Points

  • Albemarle reported net sales of $1.4 billion in Q1 2024, driven by growth in energy storage volumes.
  • Analysts project the global EV market to grow to 230 million vehicles by 2030, benefiting Albemarle significantly.
  • The company’s strategic initiatives and productivity improvements led to $90 million in cost savings in Q1 2024.
  • Albemarle’s financial outlook for FY 2024 remains strong, with expected net sales between $5.5 billion and $7.6 billion.
  • 5 stocks we like better than Albemarle

Much like the stocks we've been writing about this week, like Ethan Allen NYSE: ETD, this chemicals company has felt the effects of an electric vehicle (EV) slump in the last few quarters. But there are signs things are about to change.

Albemarle Corporation NYSE: ALB is a global leader in the specialty chemicals sector. It is well known for its critical role in providing lithium for energy storage solutions (read: electric vehicle batteries). In Q1 2024, Albemarle reported net sales of $1.4 billion, driven by substantial growth in energy storage volumes. Despite a year-over-year decline in net sales and a substantial drop in adjusted EBITDA, the company has been proactive in implementing strategic initiatives.

EV 'Picks and Axes'

The global shift towards renewable energy and the transition to electric vehicles are significant trends benefiting Albemarle.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), the number of EVs on the road is expected to reach 230 million by 2030 under the stated policies scenario, from 16 million in 2022. In a highly competitive market where companies like Tesla NASDAQ: TSLA and BYD OTCMKTS: BYDDY vie for the top spot, smart investors flee to the providers of 'picks and axes' - in other words, suppliers that may be lower on the value chain but benefit from the massive EV tailwind without all of the competition. And that's exactly what Albemarle offers.

Global EV sales have increased by 20% year-to-date, with China leading this growth. As a critical supplier in the EV supply chain, Albemarle stands to benefit substantially from this trend. Positive sales trends in Europe and North America further bolster the company's outlook.


Increasing Capacity

Albemarle Today

Albemarle Co. stock logo
ALBALB 90-day performance
Albemarle
$92.06
-1.75 (-1.87%)
(As of 07/19/2024 ET)
52-Week Range
$90.02
$231.53
Dividend Yield
1.74%
P/E Ratio
33.48
Price Target
$145.65

Albemarle has made significant strides in its project developments, enhancing production volumes and operational efficiency. Lithium is extracted and processed in three different ways:

  • Brine Extraction: Pumping lithium-rich brine from underground aquifers into evaporation ponds, where it is concentrated and processed. This is by far the most popular extraction method, and it happens mainly in Chile, Argentina, and Bolivia. Albermarle's Salar Yield Improvement project achieved a 50% operating rate milestone this quarter.
  • Hard Rock (Spodumene) Mining: Extracting spodumene ore from mines, then crushing, heating, and chemically processing it to produce lithium compounds. Spodumene mining is predominant in Australia, where the company's Kemerton I facility is being commissioned.
  • Clay Extraction: Mining lithium-rich clays and treating them with sulfuric acid at high temperatures to extract and convert lithium into usable forms.

These advancements are crucial for meeting the growing demand for lithium and improving efficiency. Additionally, Albemarle's focus on productivity has resulted in $90 million in cost savings in Q1 2024, aligning with its annual target of $280 million.

The company has also set up strategic "bidding events" for spodumene concentrate and lithium carbonate. In general, the lithium industry is opaque, with bilateral contracts and negotiations that are not seen by the larger market.

Albemarle promotes price transparency and discovery in the market by promoting bidding events where the company's products are bought through an auction process. These events are designed to ensure fair pricing and provide real-time insights into market dynamics, attracting more clients that value transparency and fair play.

Financial Outlook

While Albemarle faced challenges in Q1 2024, the company's financial outlook for the remainder of the year remains strong. For FY 2024, Albemarle expects net sales to range between $5.5 billion and $7.6 billion, with adjusted EBITDA projected between $0.9 billion and $2.6 billion. Despite the short-term setbacks, Albemarle is committed to its investment-grade credit rating and strong liquidity position, boasting $2.1 billion in cash and equivalents and $3.5 billion in total debt.

Analysts have taken note. The consensus price target for the stock is 29% above current prices, with several target boosts in May alone.

In Short

Investing in Albemarle does come with risks, such as fluctuations in lithium market prices and potential production volume shortfalls. However, these risks are mitigated by the company's ongoing productivity improvements, massive EV tailwind, and a strong balance sheet.

Investors interested in investing in the EV theme through a 'picks and axes' strategy should consider Albemarle because of its strong fundamentals and market position.

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Should you invest $1,000 in Albemarle right now?

Before you consider Albemarle, you'll want to hear this.

MarketBeat keeps track of Wall Street's top-rated and best performing research analysts and the stocks they recommend to their clients on a daily basis. MarketBeat has identified the five stocks that top analysts are quietly whispering to their clients to buy now before the broader market catches on... and Albemarle wasn't on the list.

While Albemarle currently has a "Hold" rating among analysts, top-rated analysts believe these five stocks are better buys.

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Companies Mentioned in This Article

CompanyMarketRank™Current PricePrice ChangeDividend YieldP/E RatioConsensus RatingConsensus Price Target
Albemarle (ALB)
4.9663 of 5 stars
4.97 / 5 stars
$92.06-1.9%1.74%33.48Hold$145.65
Tesla (TSLA)
4.4941 of 5 stars
4.49 / 5 stars
$239.20-4.0%N/A61.02Hold$203.03
BYD (BYDDY)
2.376 of 5 stars
2.38 / 5 stars
$62.05+1.4%1.16%21.25BuyN/A
Ethan Allen Interiors (ETD)
2.5126 of 5 stars
2.51 / 5 stars
$29.54-2.8%5.28%10.74Moderate Buy$35.00
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