Why Chemours Stock Crashed 37% This Morning

Shares of chemicals company Chemours (CC -33.50%) tumbled 37.3% through 11:10 a.m. ET on Thursday after announcing it will need to postpone the release of its Q4 and full-year financial results for 2023 — and that it is replacing its CEO, its CFO, and its controller as well.

In the meantime, as investors await its final and official results, management released preliminary estimates showing that sales probably fell 12% in 2023 and that the company flipped from a 2022 profit to a 2023 loss.

Chemours management shakeup

Chemours announced that its board of directors has put (now former) CEO Mark Newman, (now former) CFO Jonathan Lock, and (you guessed it — now former) company controller Camela Wisel on administrative leave. Denise Dignam will replace them, moving up from head of the company’s titanium technology business to serve as Interim CEO. Matt Abbott, who had been a company senior vice president and chief enterprise transformation officer, will serve as interim CFO.

Chemours did not say why it is taking these actions but did refer to unspecified “reports made to the Chemours Ethics Hotline.” This appears to be more than just an HR problem. The company also said it is “evaluating one or more potential material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting as of December 31, 2023.” If that’s tied to the ethics issue, we could be looking at a case of some kind of internal financial shenanigans here.

Dollars and cents

Whatever the news ends up being, it probably won’t be good. Turning to the financial report that it will not be releasing in full or on time, Chemours warned that full-year 2023 sales will probably be no more than $6 billion, which is actually fine. Wall Street analysts were already predicting $6 billion as the company’s revenue for the year.

More concerning is Chemours’ warning that it may have lost between $225 million and $235 million last year. Spread across 148.4 million shares outstanding, this implies that Chemours lost at least $1.51 per share last year versus analyst expectations of a $3 per share profit.

Granted, Chemours notes that it took nearly $900 million worth of (hopefully) one-time charges last year — $746 million for “pre-tax litigation settlements” and $153 million more for “restructuring, asset-related, and other charges” — and blamed these for the likely loss. Granted, backing out these charges, Chemours will probably still be able to argue it would have been profitable on a non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) adjusted basis.

Still, a loss is a loss. And when combined with the CEO and CFO news, this is shaping up to be a very bad news day for Chemours.

Rich Smith 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.

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