Why Orion Engineered Carbons Stock Tumbled More Than 30% in March

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What happened

Shares of Orion Engineered Carbons (NYSE: OEC) plummeted 32.1% in March, according to data provided by S&P Global Market Intelligence. The maker of Carbon Black -- a commercial form of solid carbon used by several industries -- sold off after the company reported its fourth-quarter results.

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So what

On the one hand, Orion Engineered Carbons reported solid numbers for the fourth quarter. Revenue came in at $386 million, which was up 13.6% year over year and beat analysts' expectations by more than $12 million. Adjusted earnings, meanwhile, were $0.48 per share, which came in $0.01 per share ahead of the consensus estimate.

However, its underlying results weren't quite as good since volumes declined 6.1% due to a plant closure and reduced exports to China. Furthermore, the company offered a lackluster outlook for 2019, and anticipates that its adjusted EBITDA will be between $280 million to $300 million this year, which at the midpoint is 1.5% below last year's total. It also noted that it needs robust rubber demand and an acceleration in its specialty business in China to fuel a high-end finish.

Now what

Orion Engineered Carbons is under pressure from weak market conditions, especially in China. That's due in part to its current trade dispute with the U.S. While the two countries are reportedly close to solving their differences, talks could fall apart. If that happens, Orion's shares could remain under pressure until the Chinese economy bounces back, which would likely take even more time.

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Matthew DiLallo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.