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Stock Market & Financial Investment News

News Breaks
January 29, 2013
05:18 EDTWLKWestlake Chemical increases production in Kentucky by 40% with Technip contracts
Technip was awarded engineering and procurement contracts by Westlake Chemical for the expansion and modernization of the ethylene cracking furnaces and the recovery section of Westlake's ethylene plant in Calvert City, Kentucky. The ethylene production capacity will be increased by 40%, from 450M pounds per year to 630M pounds per year, and will use ethane feedstock instead of propane as per the original design.
News For WLK From The Last 14 Days
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February 2, 2016
07:31 EDTWLKSell rating on Axiall maintained on fundamentals at UBS
UBS noted Axiall (AXLL) rejected the $20 all cash bid from Westlake Chemical (WLK) and believes the possibility exists for counteroffers, but said bids from other parties are less likely. The firm believes market conditions will remain challenged for Axiall but raised its price target to $16 from $11 to account for a 50% probability of a deal.
February 1, 2016
13:54 EDTWLKBrigade Capital sends letter to Axiall, urges sale of company
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06:44 EDTWLKAxiall upgraded to Overweight from Neutral at JPMorgan
JPMorgan analyst Jeffrey Zekauskas upgraded Axiall (AXLL) to Overweight saying the company would fit well with Westlake Chemical (WLK). It is reasonable to think that Westlake will raise its bid for Axiall, Zekauskas tells investors in a research note after the company's $20 per share offer got rejected. The possibility of Westlake proposing a management slate in a proxy filing could provide incentives for negotiation, he contends. Zekauskas raised his price target for Axiall to $25 from $20. Citi this morning downgraded the stock to Neutral.
06:02 EDTWLKAxiall downgraded to Neutral from Buy at Citi
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January 29, 2016
17:12 EDTWLKOn The Fly: Top stock stories for Friday
Stocks began the session in positive territory and remained there throughout the day. The early strength was attributed to the surprise cut in interest rates by the Bank of Japan that put the country in a negative interest rate scenario. The market gained strength throughout the day and put in gains of almost 2.5% in what was a broad based advance for the major averages. January closed out with two winning weeks, but the month was still a very bad one for stocks, as the S&P lost over 5% even after today's strong showing. ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the Commerce Department's first read on fourth quarter gross domestic product came in at 0.7% annualized growth, below the already anemic 0.8% growth forecast. The Chicago PMI business barometer bounced to 55.6 in January, topping forecasts for a 45.3 reading. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index slipped to 92.0 in the final January print, missing the 93.0 reading that was forecast. In a surprise move in Asia, the Bank of Japan introduced a rate of minus 0.1% on certain excess holdings of cash while maintaining the pace of its asset purchases. Japan also reported data pointing to a softening economy, as total CPI grew 0.2% year-over-year in December, core CPI rose at only a 0.1% pace and industrial production fell a preliminary 1.4% month-over-month in December. COMPANY NEWS: Shares of Amazon (AMZN) declined 7.6% to $587 after the company's fourth quarter results came in below expectations. Meanwhile, Microsoft (MSFT), which reported better than expected earnings after last night's closing bell, gained 5.8% to $55.09... Confirming a news report that broke late in the day yesterday, Xerox (XRX) announced plans to separate into two independent publicly-traded companies: one focused on Document Technology and another Business Process Outsourcing company. Xerox also announced an agreement related to the governance of the Business Process Outsourcing company under which six directors of the new company will be selected by Xerox and three will be selected by current Xerox shareholder Carl Icahn... Chevron (CVX) reported a quarterly loss due to taking impairments and other charges of $1.1B. The company, which also reported that its average sales price per barrel of crude oil and natural gas liquids in the U.S. was $35 in fourth quarter, down from $66 a year ago, edged up 0.7% to $86.44. MAJOR MOVERS: Among the notable gainers was Axiall (AXLL), which jumped 83% to $17.94 after it came to light that the company received, and rejected, an unsolicited proposal from Westlake Chemical (WLK) offering to acquire the company for $20 per share in cash and stock. Also higher were Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA), which gained 7% and 6.4%, respectively, after reporting quarterly earnings. Among the notable losers was Gilead (GILD), which fell 5.5% to $82.70 after rival Merck (MRK) received FDA approval for its own hepatitis C drug. Also potentially weighing on Gilead shares was the fact that competitor AbbVie (ABBV) announced financial results for the fourth quarter, including sales of Viekira Pak, its own hep C treatment, that fell short of estimates. AbbVie fell 2.3% to $54.58 following its quarterly report. INDEXES: The Dow rose 396.66, or 2.47%, to 16,466.30, the Nasdaq gained 107.28, or 2.38%, to 4,613.95, and the S&P 500 added 46.88, or 2.48%, to 1,940.24.
13:26 EDTWLKAxiall rejects unsolicited proposal from Westlake Chemical
Axiall (AXLL) confirmed that it has rejected an unsolicited and conditional proposal from Westlake Chemical (WLK) to acquire all of the outstanding common shares of Axiall for a consideration of $20.00 per share in the form of $11.00 in cash and 0.1967 shares of Westlake stock. Axiall noted that Westlake's proposal was delivered to the company on Monday, Jan. 25, 2016, four days before Westlake's decision to publicly release the proposal. The Axiall Board of Directors, with the assistance of its financial and legal advisors, reviewed, considered and unanimously rejected the proposal within the timeframe requested by Westlake. "We believe that Westlake's proposal is an opportunistic attempt to take advantage of challenging public equity market conditions and significantly undervalues Axiall's assets and its long-term prospects," commented Timothy Mann, president and CEO. "The price of Axiall stock was at $20.18 as recently as Dec. 1, 2015. We remain committed to achieving our $100 million run rate cost reduction and productivity target by the end of 2016, as well as our investment in the LACC ethane cracker project with our joint venture partner Lotte Chemical. In addition, we are continuing to evaluate our entire portfolio of businesses and assets to identify opportunities to enhance shareholder value, including our sales process for the Building Products business."
13:25 EDTWLKAxiall rejects unsolicited proposal from Westlake Chemical
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12:12 EDTWLKLargest Axiall holder wants negotiation with Westlake, Bloomberg says
Axiall's (AXLL) largest shareholder, Shapiro Capital Management, wants the company to negotiate with Westlake Chemical (WLK) and views Westlake's $20 per share offer as too low, Bloomberg reports, citing an interview with the fund's Chairman Sam Shapiro.
11:47 EDTWLKAxiall downgraded to Market Perform from Outperform at Wells Fargo
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08:21 EDTWLKWestlake Chemical says Axiall rejects $20 per share proposal
In a letter to the board of Axiall, Westlake Chemical disclosed that it proposed to acquire Axiall for $20 per share in cash and stock. In the letter, Westlake commented, "Less than three days after we provided our written proposal, your management informed us that you remain committed to the continued implementation of your current standalone strategic plan. The market reaction to your plan does not suggest investors believe it will deliver anywhere near the value and upside of our proposal. In this challenging environment, we believe your unwillingness to even discuss our compelling proposal exposes your shareholders to significant risk and uncertainty. The combination of Westlake and Axiall would create a more efficient, diversified and competitive company, far better positioned to succeed and grow in this challenging environment. With Westlake's Olefins business and a combined Westlake/Axiall Vinyls business, there would be an immediate opportunity to backward integrate into the ethylene market. The combined company would also benefit from Westlake's European vinyls business, which is a global leader in vinyl technology and specialty PVC resins. The combined company would also have a stronger financial profile than Axiall, providing it with significant financial and operational flexibility, a greater ability to serve its customers, and improved ability to capitalize on future investment opportunities. Based on our proposed consideration mix and strong track record, we believe that the combined company will maintain an investment grade credit rating."
08:17 EDTWLKWestlake Chemical discloses proposal to acquire Axiall for $20 per share
Westlake Chemical (WLK) announced that it has submitted a proposal to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Axiall (AXLL) for $20.00 per share, comprised of $11.00 in cash and 0.1967 of a Westlake share. The proposal, which has been summarily rejected by the Axiall Board, represented a significant premium of 108% to Axiall's closing price of $9.60 on January 22, 2016. The total value of the proposed transaction is approximately $2.9 billion, including the assumption of certain Axiall liabilities, which include approximately $1.5 billion of debt outstanding as of September 30, 2015. Westlake CEO Albert Chao commented, "We are surprised and disappointed by Axiall's summary rejection of our proposal, which provides Axiall shareholders with a significant premium and upside potential via their participation in the increased scale and synergies of the combined company. The combined company would be more diversified and have a stronger financial profile than Axiall, providing it with significant financial and operational flexibility, a greater ability to serve its customers, and improved ability to capitalize on future investment opportunities."
08:16 EDTWLKWestlake Chemical discloses proposal to acquire Axiall for $20 per share
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